Panthers Split Weekend

By Gabe Weissmann

After gaining a crucial win last weekend against Hamilton College, the Middlebury women’s soccer team continued its strong play against the Bates Bobcats on Saturday, Oct. 18, but fell to the Williams Ephs on Sunday, Oct. 19. 

After getting three uncontested goals  past the defense of the Hamilton Continentals in the first 60 minutes, Middlebury withstood a late game comeback last Saturday.

Claire Nishioka ’15 was the first to strike for Middlebury, finishing a pass from Molly Parizeau ’15 37 minutes into the first half. After a scoreless 20 minutes, Amy Martin ’17 finished a cross from Katherine Hobbs ’17 for her first goal of the season. 

The Panthers maintained the pressure on Hamilton and struck again three minutes later, after Martin lobbed a ball over the Hamilton defense that Carter Talgo ’15 ran for and was able to finish. When it seemed that Middlebury had solidified their win, Hamilton received a burst of energy beginning with a goal by Continental Victoria Freemanoff a header off of a corner kick.

With just five minutes left in the game, the Continentals quickly coupled this with a goal from Darby Philbrick. It became a race against the clock, as strong defense and a big save from Middlebury goalie Emily Eslinger ’18 allowed Middlebury to come out on top of Hamilton’s attempted comeback. Eslinger finished with two saves off of four shots on goal.

After a week of practice, the Panthers hosted Bates on Dragone Field. The Panthers first struck 22 minutes into the game after Nishioka finished a cross from Jamie Soroka ’16. Ten minutes later Moria Sloan ’15 finished a cross from Katlyn Casey ’15 to put Middlebury up 2-0. After Sloan’s goal, Middlebury managed to hold Bates from scoring for the rest of the game. Eslinger finished the game with two key saves to earn the shutout. Middlebury was able to fire off four shots on goal, while Bates finished with two shots on goal. This is in keeping with Middlebury’s consistently high number of shots on goal per game.

 On the heels of their win against Bates, the Panthers traveled to Williamstown on Sunday to face off against the 11th ranked Williams team. Both teams remained scoreless going into the second half despite solid attempts at the goal from either side. The ice was broken by Williams five minutes into the second half when Eph, Kristi Kirshe scored off of a pass from teammate Alison Magruder. 

Despite four shots on goal, Middlebury was unable to capitalize on its opportunities. Eslinger finished with one save on the day, while Hannah Van Wetter anchored Williams’ defense and earned their shutout with four saves.

Middlebury now maintains an 8-6 record to earn itself a 5th place ranking in the NESCAC. The team will host Wesleyan next Saturday at 11a.m. on Dragone Field in their last NESCAC and regular season game, which will have important implications for the playoffs.

Parizeau commented on the team’s outlook moving forward.

“We’ve had a few tough losses, but Wesleyan will be a chance to prove what type of team we are,” she said. “We are committed 100 percent as a team of 25 to keep this season going.” 

Wesleyan is 1-9-2 on the season, and 0-6-1 in the NESCAC, and therefore shouldn’t provide too tough of a test for the Panthers (8-6-0 on the season and 4-5-0 in the NESCAC) as they begin to sharpen their play in anticipation of a long run in the postseason.

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