Panthers Smoke Camels in NESCAC Tournament

Lauren+Greer+%E2%80%9913+gets+heated+during+a+scramble+in+front+of+the+net.+Greer+scored+four+times+in+the+7-0+win+against+Connecticut+College.+%28Campus%2FJessica+Munyon%29
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Panthers Smoke Camels in NESCAC Tournament

Lauren Greer ’13 gets heated during a scramble in front of the net. Greer scored four times in the 7-0 win against Connecticut College. (Campus/Jessica Munyon)

Lauren Greer ’13 gets heated during a scramble in front of the net. Greer scored four times in the 7-0 win against Connecticut College. (Campus/Jessica Munyon)

Lauren Greer ’13 gets heated during a scramble in front of the net. Greer scored four times in the 7-0 win against Connecticut College. (Campus/Jessica Munyon)

Lauren Greer ’13 gets heated during a scramble in front of the net. Greer scored four times in the 7-0 win against Connecticut College. (Campus/Jessica Munyon)

By Fritz Parker

After wrapping up the regular season with a win over Williams, the top-ranked Middlebury field hockey team rolled past eighth-seeded Connecticut College in a NESCAC tournament quarterfinal match on Saturday, Oct. 27, jumping ahead early and never looking back en route to a 7-0 victory.

Having already clinched the top seed for the NESCAC tournament with their win over Bates, the Panthers went on the road to Williams for their regular-season finale on Wednesday, Oct. 24, defeating the host Ephs by a score of 4-0. After 22 minutes of scoreless play, Cat Fowler ’15 bested the Williams keeper to give Middlebury the edge. Lauren Greer ’13 added a goal minutes later to give the Panthers a 2-0 halftime lead.

In the second half, Katie Theiss ’14 and Anna Kenyon ’16 each found the net for the Panthers, sealing the 4-0 win. Greer led the Middlebury attack with a goal and two assists, while Fowler finished with a goal and an assist of her own. Goalkeeper Madeline Brooks ’13 played all 70 minutes en route to the shutout.

“Just being confident and playing behind such a strong unit of defense allows me and the rest of the team to focus on other aspects of the game,” said Brooks. “They certainly make my job in [the] net easier.”
In defeating Williams, the Panthers finished the regular season with a record of 14-0, their first perfect regular season since 2004.

Returning to action in its quarterfinal contest at home against Connecticut College, Middlebury got on the board early once again with a first-minute goal from Greer. Kenyon then converted off a feed from Theiss for a score before Greer found the net again, this time with an assist from Alyssa Dimaio ’15. Greer completed the first-half hat trick 20 minutes in, taking a pass from Fowler off of a penalty corner and beating the Camels’ keeper. The assist was Fowler’s 15th of the season, just one shy of Greer’s school record of 16 set last season.

The Middlebury defense also allowed neither a shot nor a penalty corner in the first half.

“Our defense has been extremely poised all over the field,” said Margaret Souther ’13.  “Especially in playoffs as the games become more and more competitive, we try to play a clean, deliberate game.”

The Panthers continued their strong play in the second half, as Greer scored her fourth of the game on a penalty corner. Fowler then found the cage for Middlebury, corralling a loose ball at the top of the circle and sending a hard shot past the keeper for the score. The Middlebury defenders continued their tough play in the half, with Brooks making a spectacular stop – coming out of goal to deflect the ball away from a charging Camel attacker – to hold Connecticut College scoreless. Fowler’s second of the game gave the Panthers a 7-0 lead, which they retained over the final 25 minutes for the win.

“I have confidence in every single player that we put on the defensive line,” said Brooks. “I know that if [Souther,] Meredith [Rowe ’15] or Tayla [Satkwich ’15] gets the ball inside the circle, they will clear it out and will make the necessary play to get the ball back on offense.”

The shutout was Middlebury’s ninth of the season, including a streak of eight consecutive shutout wins. Both figures are school records. The team has not allowed a goal since its Sept. 29 game at Wesleyan. Brooks’s goals-against average of 0.46 is also tied for first amongst Division III players.

“That stat really reflects how strong we are on defense all over the field, starting with the forward line and going all the way back to the goalie,” said Souther. “I think we all enjoy the shutouts and will work to keep up our streak, but in the end a win is a win.”

Greer currently leads the nation in both goals per game (2.07) and points per game (5.0,) and is on track to break her own school records for both goals and points in a season.The Panthers advance to play Amherst in a semifinal game at home Saturday, November 3. The fifth-seeded Lord Jeffs defeated Trinity in an overtime quarterfinal contest to reach the semifinals. Middlebury defeated Amherst 3-1 in the teams’ first meeting over a month ago on Sept. 23.

“We will be playing a lot of really good teams coming up so it will be a little tougher, but I think we’re all excited for the challenge,” said Souther. “I would say our primary goal is to win, go out there and outplay our opponents and hopefully maintaining our shutout streak will follow suit.”

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