Women’s Soccer Splits Pair of NESCAC Home Matches

By Alex Morris

Middlebury women’s soccer came away from its first doubleheader of the season with mixed results. After conceding a 2-1 defeat in the final 15 seconds of the game against Amherst on Saturday, Sept. 19, the Panthers bounced back with an emphatic 4-1 victory over Hamilton on Sunday, Sept. 20. The team also traveled to play local rival, Plattsburgh, on Tuesday, Sept. 22 (RESULT).

When Amherst played host to Middlebury’s second in-conference game last Saturday, the opening half proved to be a hard-fought affair. Both teams became entrenched, unable to score any of the combined nine total shots on goal. Despite this back-and-forth action, the half was highlighted by just two main attempts, one from each side.

Amherst’s chance emerged when Megan Kim fed the ball to Rubii Tamen, whose shot to the right corner forced Middlebury’s keeper Kate Reinmuth ’17 to make a diving save. Middlebury’s best opportunity came with just a minute left in the half, after Emma Shumway ’18 made contact with the ball in a scuffle in the Amherst box, sending her shot just wide.

The Lord Jeffs broke the deadlock in the 58th minute off of a corner kick. Emily Hester collected the ball off the corner and passed to Guzzi at the top of the box, who sent it rocking into the back of the Panther net.

The Panthers were unable to respond for another 20 minutes, after the rebound from Katherine Hobbs ’17’s shot found the feet of Shumway, who drilled it into the back of the net.

With the game heading into overtime, the Panthers were caught sleeping in the final minute of the game. After Amherst sent the ball down the right sideline, Hester clinched a narrow victory for the Lord Jefferys by beating Reinmuth with her shot from just inside the box. Amherst held the advantage in both shots (15-9) and corner kicks (8-5).

Despite losing in such disappointing fashion, Head Coach Peter Kim was quick to derive positives from the game.

“We had some lapses in the Amherst game, but at many times we were the better team and it could have been either team’s game,” Kim said. “They preserved and caught us unaware at the very end of the game, but there were positives to take out of it. So even though it stung a lot, I feel like we’re right there with a lot of the teams in the conference.”

Kim said that at the final whistle of the Amherst game, the team already knew that it had to learn from its mistakes and move on to prepare to play Hamilton the next day.

Middlebury found its rhythm early, and was patient in building play around the midfield. A few early chances came for Middlebury’s offense including a shot skewed high and wide by Adrianna Gildner ’17, after Day Robins ’17 had faked out a defender and found Gildner in the box.

Panther fatigue was evident, however, as Hamilton looked dangerous only when capitalizing on Middlebury’s mistakes in its own half.

The first goal came for Middlebury in the 21st minute after earning a free kick when a Hamilton defender illegally sat on the ball. Grace Woroch ’17 quickly touched the ball to Jamie Soroka ’16 who coolly placed the ball into the upper right side of the net.

Soroka continued to wreak havoc on the Hamilton defense, scoring again just three minutes later. After the ball was lofted into the box, it found the head of Alissa Huntington ’18, who nodded the ball towards goal. Soroka had the killer touch, heading the ball into the Continental net.

Hamilton was sluggish to respond, and the Panther’s third goal came with ten minutes left, after Amanda Hotvedt ’17 found herself with time and space on the edge of the box and scored from 18 yards out.

The Continentals came back with heightened urgency, and looked certain to score with six minutes left in the half. After outrunning the Middlebury defense, Ali Clarke sent a ball towards goal, but Amanda Dafonte ’19 dove and put her body on the line to stop the shot. Hannah Withiam’s follow-up was then deflected away. Hamilton was finally rewarded in the 42nd minute after Reinmuth could only palm away Clarke’s effort. Reinmuth reflected the ball into the path of Darbe Philbrick, who forcefully placed it into the back of the net.

Hamilton started the second half the better team, playing slick passes behind the Panther defense to its quick strikers. Reinmuth had to race out to make a diving save three minutes in from an oncoming Hamilton player. Just minutes later, a Continental shot just hit the outside of the net. Middlebury was also lucky to escape a penalty after Reinmuth came intertwined with a striker that had sidestepped her in the box.

After a slight lapse in play, Middlebury got on the scoresheet for the fourth and final time. Shumway played Hotvedt at the top of the box, who capitalized on a keeper out of position, and one-touched into the top-left corner of the net.

Play quieted down in the final quarter of the game, with the ball bouncing back and forth between the teams. Middlebury started to play to the corners to neutralize any Hamilton threat.

The Continentals ended the game the stronger team with a 13-12 shots advantage.

Despit a slightly sloppy effort by the Middlebury Panthers, their firepower was put on display against Hamilton.

“Our goal scoring was very excellent [against Hamilton],” Kim said. “As a team, we didn’t play the game we like to play; it was something we had to dig out in these brutal doubleheader conference weekends. It’s a lot to ask the players, so even if it wasn’t the prettiest, full marks to those two for some great goals and some nice set-ups as well.”

On Tuesday Sept. 22, the Panthers fell in double-overtime to Plattsburgh State, conceding a 2-1 defeat.

Middlebury took a 1-0 lead just 7:46 into the game as Robinson scored her second goal of the year. In captain made goal, Hobbs fed Robinson, who then took one touch before firing the ball into the left side of the net.

The Panthers continued to be the better team until well into the second half when they conceded a Cardinals goal to even up the game. Anissa Hartmann calmly slotted a penalty kick after a Middlebury foul in the box.

Hartmann finally broke the deadlock four minutes into the second overtime to give the Cardinals the win. Hartmann latched on to the ball from a corner kick and blasted it into the net.

Plattsburgh held a 15-11 shot advantage and 5-1 advantage in corner kicks.

The Panthers will next travel to Maine to take on Bowdoin on Saturday, Sept. 26.