Almost one year after Connecticut College ended Middlebury’s nine game unbeaten streak, the Panthers were able to enact revenge with a 1-0 victory on Saturday, Sept. 14. Middlebury followed up with a 10-0 victory over Norwich on Tuesday, Sept. 17.
While Saturday’s victory definitely brought a feeling of retribution for Middlebury’s returning players, co-captain Lindsay Kingston ’14 felt that it also signified something more important.
“There was definitely a sense of the need for redemption among the returners for this year’s [Connecticut College] game,” Kingston said. “However, the large incoming class created balance that focused more on the present and less on our loss from last year. In the end it was not the redemption that made Saturday’s win so great, but the fact that we, as a whole team, had just won our first game of the season on our home turf and with a number of our newcomers making a major impact on the field.”
Play started off in a frenetic manner and the fast tempo caused several turnovers. Middlebury tried to control the game with patient passing in midfield, as head coach Peter Kim barked instructions to keep the ball moving forward and “break the line.”
Middlebury had several opportunities in the first half including hitting the post and a scramble in the box in the 39th minute after the initial shot had been thwarted by Camels keeper Bella Hall.
The Panther’s breakthrough came with one minute left in the half. The Camels defenders were caught sleeping as Julia Favorito ’14 lifted a cross from just outside the box to find Scarlett Kirk ’14 unguarded. The powerful forward was able to coolly slot the ball into the left-hand corner.
Middlebury came out of the break lifted by the first half performance and looked to immediately pick up where they had left off. Adrianna Gildner ’17 was involved in the early action first directing a cross into the box that was headed just wide by Hannah Robinson ’16 before just minutes later being unable to convert a cross from Kirk. Jamie Soroka ’16 was also denied twice by the crossbar in the space of 10 minutes, with the Panthers in the box unable to finish off the rebound.
The last 20 minutes became an unsettled affair as neither team could keep the ball for very long. The Camels grew into the game in the last 10 minutes as they pushed for an equaliser. They almost got one, as Leah Salituro ripped a shot towards the top right hand corner, but rookie Kate Reinmuth ’17 produced an impressive save as she was able to get a hand onto the ball and tip it over the crossbar. Connecticut College’s attack came too late as Middlebury showed calm and composure in the final minutes.
Despite struggling to find the back of the net against the Camels, the Panthers were unable to stop scoring in a 10-0 victory over Norwich on Tuesday, Sept. 17. Middlebury enjoyed a rampant first half, scoring eight goals, before scoring two more in the second half for a 10-0 win.
Kirk netted a hat trick; the senior is now tied second all-time in goals scored in program history with 35 career goals. Favorito also played herself into the record books, as three assists bumped her into third all-time in assists with 18.
Underclassmen Soroka, Krystina Reynolds ’17 and Gildner all found the back of the net with two goals each. Gildner and Reynolds scored their first goals a mere 43 seconds apart from one another. Reinmuth, meanwhile, recorded her second consecutive clean sheet.
While Kim wants to continue working on being better at keeping the ball and converting more chances, he felt that the relatively young team is starting to integrate well.
“We’re a team that prides itself on taking care of one another,” Kim said. “Team chemistry is extremely important to who we are and how we play, and I think that new players are doing extremely well.”
Middlebury will return to action against Bowdoin on Saturday, Sept. 21.