Sports Recap: October 31, 2019

CROSS COUNTRY

BY JORDAN HOWELL

Before having this past weekend to rest, the Middlebury cross country teams competed in the Connecticut College Invitational on Saturday, Oct. 19. The women finished in sixth place, while the men took fifth place.

The top finisher for the women was Cassie Kearney ’22 as she captured ninth place with a time of 21:41.7. Next up for the Panthers was Talia Ruxin ’20 whose time of 22:09.2 got her twenty-second place. Next for the Panthers was Meg Wilson ’20 who came in twenty-ninth place with a time of 22:18.9.

For the men, Theo Henderson ’20 had a time of 24:50.0 which netted him seventh place. Henry Fleming ’20 was able to finish in twenty-ninth place as he ended with a time of 25:21.5. Another important finisher was Quin McGaugh ’22; a time of 25:40.8 got him fifty-first place.

Up next for the Panthers are the championship meets. This starts with the NESCAC Championships on Saturday, Nov. 2.

FOOTBALL

BY LAUREN BOYD

Head Coach Bob Ritter attained his 100th career win this past Saturday at, as the Middlebury Panthers extended their undefeated run, improving their record to 7-0. Ritter had also recorded his first win at the same stadium against the Polar Bears in September 2001. Middlebury dominated for most of the contest, starting off the game with a 21-0 run in the first quarter.

Ritter’s 100th win began with a 45-yard touchdown run from freshman Alex Maldjian to open the scoring for the game. QB Wil Jernigan quickly followed with his own rushing touchdown from 23-yards out, after the Polar Bears went 3 and out on their response. With less than a minute left in the first quarter, Jernigan connected with Maxim Bochman ’20 for a 21-0 lead.

While Bowdoin was only able to put one touchdown on the board before half, the Panthers responded with another 7 points of their own, making the halftime score 28-7. By the end of the third quarter, the Panthers tagged on another unanswered 13 points.

The Polar Bears found their groove at the end of the game, but could not put enough points to catch the Panthers. They decreased their deficit by 22 points, and by the end of the contest, the Panthers took home the victory, 47-29.

Next weekend, Middlebury will play the Hamilton Continentals (4-3), who most recently defeated the Tufts Jumbos (3-4), Middlebury’s last competition for the season. 

Looking forward, offensive lineman Kevin Woodring ‘20 says the team is focusing on improving the little things, in order to see big results at the end of the season. 

“I said this back at the beginning of the season, but the main focus, still, is that we have to be able to do the little things right. It may sound simple, yet it makes or breaks a game. We’re not a team to blow our opponent off the field; we’re a gritty, mentally tough and hard working team that grinds out wins,” Wooddring said, “In order to keep going 1-0, we have to continue to do the little things right. Right now, Hamilton is the best team on our schedule adn we have to do everything we can this week to be extremely well-prepared so that we come out and play a great game on Saturday.”

WOMEN’S SOCCER

BY HEATHER BOEHM

Women’s soccer wrapped up their regular season with strong NESCAC play against Tufts on Saturday, Oct. 26 and Williams on Tuesday, Oct. 29. The Panthers triumphed on the road against the Jumbos, sneaking the only goal in within the last few breaths of the contest. The women were able to hold off the Ephs 0-0 in a physical national championship rematch.

Despite 10th-ranked Tufts’ home field advantage, Middlebury held its own. The women had their share of opportunities, finding six shots on goal to the Jumbo’s five. 

The defense protected the net, with senior goalie Ursula Alwang refusing to give the hosts any hope. With just under two and a half minutes of play, it was senior captain Virginia Charman who led her team to victory, nailing a shot past the Tufts goalie off of a free kick from sophomore Ellie Bavier

After a hard-fought game, the Panthers quickly regrouped for Tuesday’s hyped rematch. The women played a brutally physical game, that ultimately ended in silence. 

Charman commented on the team’s season. “It was a very successful season and we are really excited to build on our success,” said Charman. “We are pumped to get another opportunity to face the same teams we have been competing against in the postseason.” 

This nearly perfect regular season play will give the Panthers the second seed in the conference tournament next weekend. Middlebury missed the top seed by a half of a point to Tufts. 

Charman discussed the team’s mantra and mindset going into the postseason. “Our motto is to go ‘1-0’ every game, so that we can focus on each game no matter who we are playing. We do this so we don’t overlook any opponent or get too far ahead of ourselves.”

MEN’S TENNIS

BY JACK KAGAN

After making an impressive run to the finals in the International Tennis Association (ITA) New England regional tournament, Panther sophomore Stanley Morris punched a ticket to the ITA Cup that took place from Thursday, Oct. 17–19 at the Rome Tennis Center in Rome, Ga. The draw was packed with the regional finalists and champions hailing from top schools like Case Western Reserve, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (CMS), Emory College and Kenyon College. 

Morris, unseeded, shined once again, breaking through to the finals after notching wins against four-star recruit first-year James Hopper of Case Western Reserve and former five-star Jack Katzman of CMS, who was seeded third in the contest. 

The final saw Morris up against familiar NESCAC competition: Boris Sorkin, Tufts’ standout junior from Russia who has been causing trouble for the Panthers ever since his arrival in Medford in 2017. Sorkin finished last spring ranked ninth in all of Division III tennis, just two behind former Panthers star Lubomir Cuba ’19. Last spring, no other Panthers cracked the top 50 on this list. 

Morris came up just short in the final, taking the fourth-seeded Sorkin to a third set. A tight loss a first set tiebreak led to some momentum as Morris notched a second set win before falling in the third. Morris and the Panthers have to be proud of such a run, which should bode well for the spring and the future of Middlebury tennis. 

Back in New England, the rest of the team played in the Bryant Fall Invitational in Smithfield, R.I. in the last competition of the fall. David Vilys ’22, Zach Hilty ’22, and Aleks Samets ’20 all grabbed two wins in the singles contest and will hope to break into the new-look lineup come springtime. 

WOMEN’S TENNIS

BY MIGUEL ESPINOSA

Women’s Tennis concluded the Fall portion of their season by hosting the Middlebury Invitational on Oct. 18-20. The invitational featured Amherst, Brandeis and Williams and took place at the outdoor and indoor tennis courts on campus. The invitational didn’t crown a champion since the format involved teams playing each other in either singles or doubles. 

On Friday, all Panther pairs won their doubles matches against Williams. Katherine Hughes ’20 and Skylar Schossberger ’20 sealed victory with an 8-6 set, Catherine Blayze ’20 and Brinlea La Barge ’23 won 8-6, and Maddie Stow ’20 and Amanda Frank ’23 notched a win, scoring 8-4. 

Saturday also proved to be a successful day. Against Brandeis, La Barge and Blayze captured a victory at 8-2 and Ruhi Kamdar ’22 and Caitlin Neal ’23 won 8-7. Hughes, La Barge, Schossberger and Frank each tallied wins in singles matches against Williams. 

Finally, on Sunday, Stow and Heather Boehm ’20 grabbed an 8-2 doubles victory against Amherst.  The Panthers also won all five their singles against Brandeis. 

VOLLEYBALL

BY HEATHER BOEHM

This past weekend women’s volleyball fought a tough battle for their seniors at home, but ultimately the women came up just short in their efforts, falling 3-0 to top-15 ranked Tufts. Despite the loss, Saturday was filled with teary-eyed celebrations of the three graduating seniors, Chellsa Ferdinand, Gigi Alper, and Beth Neal.

Tufts came out with a fiery start, dominating the first set right from the first serve. Middlebury showed resilience as the set continued, with flashes of brilliance on defense from Alper, who has preserved her high-ranking number of digs per set. She rounded out the weekend with a solid mark of 5.64, landing her a second place slot in the conference.

In the second set, the Panther offense began to find their stride. Sophomore Maggie Wise made her presence known with 10 kills, with her sophomore teammate Corley Doyle following close behind with 9. Wise, too, topped the conference leaderboards, finishing up the weekend with 3.10 kills per set, adding up to 220 on the season, earning her fourth place in each category. Tufts was able to overcome these impressive performances and steal the first set with a two-point margin. The Jumbos capitalized on their momentum and picked up the following set to close out the contest.

The women still have time left in their season to avenge their NESCAC loss. The Panthers will look to pounce when they travel to Williams on Friday, Nov. 1 and Hamilton on Saturday, Nov. 2 to close out their regular season play. 

FIELD HOCKEY

BY MIGUEL ESPINOSA

First-ranked Field Hockey suffered its first loss of the season at sixth-ranked Tufts, 1-0, on Saturday, Oct. 26th.  The Panthers’ 20-game winning streak, which had been extended since last season, has ended. Middlebury’s overall record drops to 13-1 and is tied for first in the NESCAC with Bowdoin. Tufts, meanwhile, maintains the second-best overall record at 13-2 and is tied with Williams. 

Middlebury also notched close victories against Trinity and St. John Fisher, 3-2 and 2-1, on Oct. 19th  and Oct. 20th, respectively. For their final regular season game on Tuesday, Oct. 29th, the Panthers downed Williams, 2-1.

MEN’S SOCCER

BY ERIK ARVIDSSON

Men’s soccer lost at reigning national champion Tufts, 2-1, on Saturday, Oct. 26. The first score of the game came in the 63rd minute when Drew Goulart ’20 gave the Panthers the lead on a free kick. While the Panthers fought hard to keep Tufts out of the back of the net, Jumbos forward Gavin Tasker scored the equalizing goal with 10 minutes left in regulation, thus extending the match into overtime. Tufts scored the walkoff goal in the eight minute and gave Panthers their second loss of the season.

Regardless of Tufts prowess on the national stage, the loss hurt for the Panthers. “Even though you’re going up against one of the top teams in the country, it was a back and forth fight, both teams had our chances, so it was a disappointing result,” said captain Aidan Robinson ’20.

The Panthers hosted their final regular season game on Tuesday, October 29th against Williams and tied in double overtime. Middlebury’s conference record now stands at three wins, two losses and five ties. 

 

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