Women’s Soccer Exacts Revenge On Lord Jeffs

By Gabe Weissmann

The Middlebury women’s soccer team continued their late-season momentum after successfully taking down Amherst in an away NESCAC quarterfinal on Saturday, Nov. 1. Strong defense against a high-pressure Lord Jeffs offense, as well as a key goal late in the first half, gave Middlebury the edge it needed to overcome a difficult in-conference opponent.

Amherst maintained dominance in the first half of the game, shooting five uncontested shots within the first 35 minutes of the game. Middlebury broke the scoring ice 38 minutes into the game after Middlebury’s Katherine Hobbs ’17 netted her first career goal off of a corner kick from Claire Nishioka ’15. Hobbs’ goal would serve to be the only goal scored during the game, securing the win for Middlebury.

Coming out into the second half down by a goal and with their season on the line, Amherst continued to challenge Middlebury with offensive pressure, peppering the Panther goaltender with relentless shots. However, tough Middlebury defense and a key second-half save by goalie Emily Eslinger ’18 off of a shot from Lord Jeff Meredith Manley allowed Middlebury to withstand Amherst’s pressure.

“Katherine [Hobbs] coupled her key goal with strong defense,” Nishioka said.

Amherst managed to gain the advantage in shots by a margin of 16-5. However, Middlebury put more of their shots on goal, tallying three in comparison to Amherst’s one.

Middlebury’s Eslinger earned the win for the Panthers in goal with one save, while Amherst’s Holly Burwick finished with two saves on three shots on goal for the day. While Middlebury was deeply outnumbered in corner kicks by a margin of 7-1, the Panthers capitalized on the one corner kick opportunity they received, producing the game-deciding goal.

This weekend, Middlebury will travel to Williamstown, Mass. for their NESCAC semifinal matchup against number-one seeded Williams. Williams edged out eighth seed Colby on Saturday by a score of 1-0 in their quarterfinal matchup.

The last time that Middlebury and Williams met was in mid-October when Middlebury travelled to Williamstown for their second match in a double-header weekend and lost 1-0. In order to curb the powerful Williams offense, which thus far has outshot their opponents 337-195, the Panthers must continue their strong defensive play and rely on their seasoned senior class for strong leadership.

Nishioka commented on the Panthers’ strategy heading into Saturday’s game.

“Williams has really skilled, fast forwards, that are tricky to keep track of,” she said. “As such, we’ll have to work on matching up correctly so w e can shut them down.”

While Williams provides a difficult matchup, the win over Amherst could provide just the spark Middlebury needs to come out on top against the Ephs.

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