Field Hockey Cuts it Close in Win Over Jumbos

By CAROLINE BARTLETT

BENJY RENTON/THE MIDDLEBURY CAMPUS
Marissa Baker ’20 rushes down the field to score her second goal of the season on Saturday, Oct. 6 against Tufts.

With family and friends cheering it on, the Middlebury field hockey team extended its streak to 10–0 on Saturday, beating the Tufts Jumbos 2–1 in overtime. The Panthers took the lead after just four minutes of play, when junior Marissa Baker scored as part of a penalty corner. Tufts managed to tie it up about 20 minutes later, also on a penalty corner. The game was incredibly tight for the remainder of regulation time, with Middlebury marking just five shots on goal compared to the Jumbos’ three. 

“We spend a lot of time watching film to understand our opponents’ strengths and weaknesses,” said defender Olivia Green ’20. “For Tufts, we knew that they set their press high, meaning they pressured us when we tried to advance the ball from our defense to our midfield. We responded by playing fast, keeping the ball moving and tiring out their forwards by making them run.” 

BENJY RENTON/THE MIDDLEBURY CAMPUS

The high-pressure game was the first time Middlebury was forced into overtime, a scenario the Panthers work on a lot in practice. When the final whistle blew, they knew what to do. 

“When the clock ran out we got in our huddle and Grace [Jennings] said, ‘this is our ish!’,” explained goalkeeper Megan Collins ’18.5. “We know that OT lends itself to our way of playing — it stretches the field out so that we have more space to keep possession through long passes and gives us an opportunity to play our game.” 

The Panthers’ preparation certainly paid off, as sophomore Erin Nicholas found the back of the cage just 1:15 into overtime, for her sixth goal of the season. 

“The interesting thing about this game is it was the first time that we played really well and we still had to fight for that outcome,” said senior captain Grace Jennings. “It really challenged things that we thought we had figured out and showed us what else we have to work on moving forward. We realized that there is another level that we have to get in order to accomplish our goals for this season.” 

Despite the challenge, the Panthers proved once again what they are capable of when they work as a team. Middlebury also bested Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute 4–0 on Tuesday, Oct. 9. Up next, the Panthers will take on Trinity this Saturday, Oct. 13 during Fall Break. 

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Field Hockey Cuts it Close in Win Over Jumbos