Sports recap: September 26, 2019

VOLLEYBALL

By: HEATHER BOEHM

Women’s volleyball came up big this weekend, cruising past two NESCAC rivals. The Panthers tallied a 3–0 victory over Colby on Friday, Sept. 20 and closed out a 3–2 win over Bates College on Saturday, Sept. 21. They boast a 2-0 NESCAC record after the wins, and a 7-2 overall record. 

If the Panthers were going to make the long trek to Maine, they were going to show up on court. Despite a rocky last weekend, the women were ready to take on their first NESCAC battle. Although Middlebury took the first three sets, each one was a fight to the very end. 

Corley Doyle ’22 and Maggie Wise ’22 lead the squad to their sweep, putting up eight kills each. Gigi Alper ’20 protected her side of the net with 23 digs. 

Middlebury’s matchup against Bates was a much tougher five sets. The Panthers bested the Bobcats in the first set before Bates stole the next two. The Panthers were able to respond by picking up the next two sets.

Wise proved to be a crucial part of Saturday’s win with 19 kills, while Alper dove around the court to a season high, recording 40 digs. 

Beth Neal ’20 commented on the team’s excitement after a decisive weekend. 

“Coaches and players were thrilled with the results of this weekend,” Neal said. “Our focus up until this point was to get ready for NESCAC play. The fact that we were able to come off of a seven-hour bus ride Friday night and leave with two conference wins is definitely a positive sign of what’s to come for the rest of the season.” 

The women now look to next weekend’s challenge: Amherst. Middlebury will have some nice views on the road to the home of the Mammoths on Friday, Sept. 27. 

Neal spoke about the team’s focus for this week’s practice. 

“We have always matched up really well with Amherst,” Neal said. “With that in mind, we are definitely going to work on limiting our unforced errors in the coming week. Having no midweek game, we are set up perfectly. We have ample time to focus on the quality of our reps, rather than the quantity. Once we are able to make these minor adjustments and hone in on the potential for our deeply skilled team, we will be unstoppable in the conference.”

MEN’S SOCCER

By ERIK ARVIDSSON

After coming up without any goals in their past two contests, the luck of the men’s soccer team was due for a change. 

Their busy last week began on Sept. 17 with a 1–0 win over Mount St. Mary of New York. Then, on Saturday, Sept. 21, the Panthers earned their first NESCAC win over Hamilton. Ben Potter ’20 scored in the 59th minute, and the Panthers held on for 30 more minutes to earn the win. 

“I especially have been impressed by Ben Potter, or ‘Pawtah’ as he is called in the locker room,” former player Kye Moffat ’19 said. “He has been scratching together goals, not turning his back on any scoring chance.” 

On Sunday, Sept. 22, the Panthers hosted Vermont rival Castleton University. The boys brought it to their opponents, winning with a final score of 7–1. Jake Labranche ’21 scored two goals. 

“I saw the opportunity to score, and I told myself, ‘Come on Jake, you can do this,’ and then I did it, and then everyone gave me high-fives!” Labranche said.

Next up, the Panthers play Connecticut College at home on Saturday, Sept. 28, and Amherst on the road on Sunday, Sept. 29.

WOMEN’S GOLF

 

By MICHAEL SEGEL

This past weekend, eight players from the women’s golf team competed in the Mount Holyoke College Invitational. The Panthers earned an impressive second place finish out of the 16 participating teams, which included NESCAC rivals such as Bates and Bowdoin and some out of conference teams such as NYU and Vassar.

Williams won the two day event, finishing under 600 strokes with 599, leaving Middlebury and NYU in a second place tie with 622 apiece. Leading Middlebury to this near–top finish were Chloe Levins ’20 and Katie Murphy ’23. Levins tied for fourth out of a staggering 86 participants (73 on Saturday, 78 on Sunday) while Murphy put up a strong performance herself, rounding out the weekend with a four way tie for ninth overall (79-76). Kayla Li ’23, Anna Zumwinkle ’20 and Elizabeth Kenter ’23 all placed within the top 27, making it a strong weekend all around for the squad.

On another promising note, five of the eight Middlebury contestants tallied a lower score on Sunday compared to Saturday. The Panthers are back in action next weekend where they will host the Phinney Golf Classic, their last tournament before the NESCAC Qualifier.

MEN’S GOLF

By JACK KAGAN

The Middlebury men’s golf team is coming off a 16th place finish out of 25 teams after this past weekend’s Williams Fall Invitational. The tournament featured fierce rivals such as Williams, Trinity and Hamilton, all of whom finished in the top 10. Teams from 13th–16th place were separated by only a couple of strokes, with Middlebury finishing three strokes behind 13th place St. Lawrence University. 

A bright spot of the weekend was standout captain Jeffrey Giguere ’20, who tied for ninth in the tournament overall. His performance is even more impressive considering he finished the first round tied for 14th. The next highest Panther finisher was Sean McGarrity ’23 who tied for 51st. 

After a promising third-place finish last weekend at the Duke Nelson Invitational, Middlebury will need to avoid another middle-of-the-pack performance. Doing so could have significant implications for the conference standings, as they head to Wayland, Mass. for the NESCAC Championship Qualifier on Saturday, Sept. 28–29. 

WOMEN’S SOCCER

By JENNY LANGERMAN

Women’s soccer struggled at Hamilton this past weekend, finishing with a 1–1 tie on Saturday, Sept. 21.

After some missed scoring opportunities by Middlebury, Hamilton got on the board first with a rebound shot midway through the first half. The Panthers then responded with a goal by Simone Ameer ’21. Ameer currently leads the team in scoring.  

Nonetheless, Hamilton’s seasoned goalkeeper continually frustrated the Panthers’ attacks. Gretchen McGrath ’21, Eliza Van Voorhis ’21 and Ameer had strong chances to score, but all their shots were skillfully knocked down. Panther goalkeeper Ursula Alwang ’20 also held down Hamilton, with multiple saves throughout.

The Panthers hope to remain relevant in the rankings when they play against Connecticut College and New England College on Sept. 28 and 29. 

CROSS COUNTRY

By JORDAN HOWELL

The Aldrich Invitational, hosted by Middlebury, gave the men’s and women’s cross country teams an opportunity to showcase their fighting spirit before friends, family and other members of the Middlebury community. The Invitational took place on Sept. 21. 

The men’s squad achieved third place. Top finishers included Zander Kessler ’22 and Connor Montgomery ’20. Kessler took fifth place amongst all runners with a time of 26:52.4. Montgomery, meanwhile, finished in 13th place with a time of 27:25.8. 

The women’s squad attained first place. Talia Ruxin ’20 got a time of 2:43.5, allowing her to capture second place. Chloe Smith ’21 came in right after Ruxin with a time of 23:50.6.

“I was pretty happy with it!” Smith said, when asked about her performance. “I’m excited to continue to build on my base this season and to race in spikes next week.”

The season continues as the men and women will compete in the Purple Valley Classic at Williams on Saturday, Sept. 28. 

“Going into Purple Valley, we are excited to put together a full roster and spike up for the first time this season, because despite having three meets, we haven’t really competed at our full capacity yet,” Kessler said. 

FOOTBALL

By LAUREN BOYD

Football shut out the Bates Bobcats 28-0 this past Saturday, Sept. 21, in its first away match of the season. The team will look to improve its record to 3-0 this upcoming Saturday, Sept. 28 against Trinity at home.

Middlebury dominated the offensive and defensive games, scoring 28 unanswered points. Led by quarterback Will Jernigan ’21, the Panthers tallied 292 passing yards compared to the Bobcats’ 94. Alex Maldjian ’23 led the rushing game with 141 yards, which was more than all the rushing yards produced by Bates. In total, Middlebury rushed for 176 yards.

Defensively, a plethora of Panthers contributed to keeping the Bobcats away from the end zone. Jack Pistorius ’21, Pete Huggins ’21, Zander Bailey ’21 and Nate Stewart ’21 each recorded four tackles, while Bailey and Huggins each earned a sack.

The first two scores of the game came from the Panthers’ pass game; on the first drive, Jernigan connected with Maxwell Rye ’20, followed by a second touchdown pass to Aidan Power ’20. After Maldjian rushed for a 4–yard touchdown, the Panthers were up 21–0 going into the half.

Both teams went scoreless in the second half, until Maldjian scored a 49–yard touchdown. With four completed PATs from Carter Massengill ’20, the Panthers finished the game with a 28–0 win, improving their record to 2–0.

For their next game, the Panthers will play the Trinity Bantams at home, hoping to avenge last year’s loss. 

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