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Field Hockey Makes Moves

Panthers+Climb+to+the+Top+of+the+Nescac.+Nescac+Player+of+the+Week+Annie+Leonard+%E2%80%9918+leads+the+field+hockey+team+past+Tufts+and+Wesleyan+with+three+goals+in+the+two+games.
Panthers Climb to the Top of the Nescac. Nescac Player of the Week Annie Leonard ’18 leads the field hockey team past Tufts and Wesleyan with three goals in the two games.

Panthers Climb to the Top of the Nescac. Nescac Player of the Week Annie Leonard ’18 leads the field hockey team past Tufts and Wesleyan with three goals in the two games.

Emma Stapleton

Emma Stapleton

Panthers Climb to the Top of the Nescac. Nescac Player of the Week Annie Leonard ’18 leads the field hockey team past Tufts and Wesleyan with three goals in the two games.

By CLAIRE MESSERSMITH

The field hockey team surged past No. 4 Tufts and shutout Wesleyan on the road this past Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 8 and 9. The Panthers win over Tufts on Saturday was particularly significant because the Jumbos were undefeated and first in the Nescac before that game. With the wins, the Panthers moved into first place in the conference and extended its winning streak to five games.

Sunday’s win also marked the 350th win of head coach Katharine DeLorenzo’s career.

On Saturday, the Panthers jumped out in front less than five minutes into the game when Annie Leonard ’18 fed Marissa Baker ’20 for her third goal of the season.

Tufts responded by scoring twice in the last ten minutes of the first half to take a one goal lead into the break.

Less than 11 minutes into the second half, Middlebury took advantage of a penalty corner when Baker and Leonard reversed roles. Off the insert, Baker passed to Leonard who drove a shot past the Jumbo goalie.

Seven minutes later, off another penalty corner, Molly Freeman ’19 scored her team-leading seventh goal of the season to give the Panthers a lead they would never relinquish.

“We wanted to focus on finishing out shots when the opportunity is presented in practice this past week,” said Marissa Baker ’20. And the Panthers did just that, scoring off two penalty corners to spur their comeback.

Thanks to the defense, Tufts never threatened again, as the Panther defense held the Jumbos without a shot on goal in the last 35 minutes of action.

Middlebury snagged an early lead on Sunday against Wesleyan, when Lauren Schweppe ’18 assisted Leonard. With six minutes left in the first half, Grace Jennings ’19 carried the ball up the left side of the field before setting up Danielle Brown ’21, who netted her fourth goal of the season and gave Middlebury a 2–0 lead.

Annie Leonard ’18 put the game away with Middlebury’s third goal, five minutes into the new half.

Wesleyan had the chance to break through Middlebury’s shut out in the last ten minutes of the game with five shots and a few penalty corners, but none were on frame and Middlebury continued to power through, settling the match 3–0.

Coming off of Saturday’s win at Tufts, the Panther field hockey defense has not allowed a shot on net over the last 105 minutes of play.

“This weekend was one of the biggest of the year,” said Baker. “Tufts is a great team, and it was fun to play against both them and Wesleyan.”

In other news, the win on Sunday marked coach Katharine DeLorenzo’s 350th career victory.

“Coach DeLorenzo’s 350 wins is evidence of her incredible leadership of the Middlebury field hockey program,” Schweppe said. “Her patience, enthusiasm and love for here team and the game is inspiring. My teammates and I all feel incredibly lucky to have had the privilege of playing for her.”

The sixth-ranked Middlebury Panthers, now 6–1 in the Nescac and 9–2 overall, will continue Nescac competition again on Saturday, Oct. 14, when they host Trinity at 11 a.m. on Kohn Field.

“Our team spends a lot of time in practice building relationships on the field, which involves learning each other’s strengths and tendencies,” said Schweppe. “Knowing a teammate’s next move is a huge part of our game.”

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