MIDDLEBURY, Vermont – The fourth-seeded Middlebury field hockey team rode a pair of first-half goals to a 2-0 win over Bowdoin in Saturday’s NESCAC Quarterfinal.
The fifth-seeded Polar Bears end the season at 11-5. The Panthers (13-3) advance to next weekend’s semifinal. This was the sixth-straight year the two teams have meet in the NESCAC Tournament, with the five prior meetings in the title game.
Middlebury opened the scoring a little more than 10 minutes into the opening half. An initial shot by Grace Jennings was kicked away by Clara Belitz. The Polar Bears tried to clear the ball out of their defensive end, but Marissa Baker intercepted a pass and lifted a reverse sweep up and over Belitz for her second of the season.
The score remained a 1-0 advantage for Middlebury until the 25th minute. During the first penalty corner of the contest, Audrey Quirk inserted the ball to Jennings, who stopped it. Lauren Schweppe quickly drove a shot from just inside the arc to give the Panthers a 2-0 lead.
The Polar Bears turned up the pressure in the first 10 minutes of the second half, with the most promising scoring opportunity coming in the 41st minute. Kimmy Ganong dribbled the ball to three yards away on the right, but Middlebury goalie Emily Miller denied Ganong twice on the doorstep.
Bowdoin appeared to cut the Panther lead to one in the 55th minute on its first penalty corner of the contest. A shot by Elizabeth Bennewitz from just outside the arc was tipped and went into the back of the cage, but the officials waved it off, ruling it hit a defender’s stick.
Middlebury finished with a narrow 7-6 advantage in shots and both teams finished with two penalty corners. Miller made four saves while Belitz made three.