MIDDLEBURY, Vt. – In the battle of field hockey unbeatens, sophomore Beth Krikorian's goal wasn't enough to help No. 3 Tufts beat No. 1 Middlebury, as they fell to the Panthers in overtime 2-1 at Kohn Field Saturday afternoon.
|Sophomore Beth Krikorian scored the lone goal for the Jumbos|
With their first loss of the season, the Jumbos drop to 8-1 on the year and 5-1 in NESCAC play. Tufts will be back in action this Wednesday at 5 pm, as they host Wellesley. The Panthers improve to 10-0, and 6-0 in NESCAC play, as they now sit atop of the conference. Middlebury will be on the road this Tuesday, as they face Rensselaer at 6:30 pm.
This was an instant classic, as two high-ranked, top-notch conference opponents went head-to-head. The Panthers, who were last year's NCAA Division III champions, are very difficult to beat at home.
Starting in the first half, Middlebury got on the board early. Just four minutes in, Marissa Baker for the Panthers scored her scond goal of the season which was generated off of a penalty corner. Grace Jennings and Isabel Chandler had the assists, as Middlebury took an early 1-0 lead.
Throughout the course of the first half, Tufts continued to apply pressure, but opportunities were hard to come by due to a tough Panther defense. However, the Jumbos - who have the most penalty corners in the NESCAC - found their chance in the 23rd minute. Junior Marguerite Salamone took a penalty corner which was executed beautifully. Salamone passed the ball to the top of the circle to senior midfielder Fallon Shaughnessy, who directed it to an awaiting Krikorian who ripped a shot to the left side of the net getting past goalkeeper Megan Collins, evening the score at 1-1. Going into the second half, this is how the score would stay.
Both teams played well on defense, and neither team had too many quality scoring chances in the second half. The backline for the Jumbos, consisting of senior Issy Del Priore, sophomore Melissa Manzello, freshman Sophie Schoeni, and freshman Marin Waddington held their own and protected goalkeeper Emily Polinski well. Nearing the end of the half, there was a moment where the Panthers had a prime opportunity, where a ball slipped past Polinski, but a swarming Jumbo defense was able to knock it away just in time. With the score still tied at 1-1, the game was heading to overtime.
In overtime, both teams send out their six players and goalkeepers, making it seven on seven. This format opens up the field, which allows both teams more chances on offense in theory. Just over a minute into the frame, Middlebury had an opportunity on offense. Erin Nicholas dribbled up the right sideline and was able to slip past a couple of Jumbo defenders, creating separation heading towards the net. Nicholas was able to find space, and put a shot on net that went past Polinski for the goal, giving the Panthers a 2-1 win in overtime.
Tufts had a total of 11 penalty corners, while Middlebury had just four. In a low shot affair, the Jumbos had six while the Panthers had seven. Collins had one save for Middlebury, while Polinski finished the game with three. Olivia Green had a defensive save for the Panthers.
Written by Athletic Communications Intern Ryan Servant