Middlebury Edges Bowdoin in Battle Between Top-Five Squads

Katie Riley scored Bowdoin's lone goal in Saturday's loss to Middlebury
Katie Riley scored Bowdoin's lone goal in Saturday's loss to Middlebury

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. - The Middlebury College field hockey team scored a pair of first-half goals and held off Bowdoin for an eventual 2-1 win in a battle between nationally-ranked squads on Saturday afternoon at Kohn Field.

The Panthers, ranked third in the latest NFHCA Division III poll, improve to 4-0 (3-0 NESCAC) and deal the fifth-ranked Polar Bears (4-1, 1-1 NESCAC) their first regular season loss since October of 2010, snapping a string of 18 consecutive wins.

The Panthers jumped out early, as Katherine Theiss connected with a breakaway pass ahead to Lauren Greer, who flicked the ball past Bowdoin netminder Kayla Lessard for a 1-0 lead just 8:16 into the contest. Lessard kept her team close with several nice saves on penalty corner opportunities for Middlebury in the ensuing minutes, allowing Bowdoin to make a bid to tie the score late in the half.

Off a penalty corner, Brooke Phinney ripped a shot that bounced behind Middlebury's goaltender Madeline Brooks, but was swept off the goal line by defender Meredith Rowe to preserve the hosts' one-goal edge. Moments later, Greer connected with Catherine Fowler in front, who ripped a shot past Lessard for a 2-0 edge at 26:16.

Middlebury carried its lead through halftime until Bowdoin's Katie Riley redirected an Olivia King shot at 40:20 to trim the edge to 2-1. The Polar Bears had seven shots in the second half, but could not find an equalizer.

Bowdoin's Lessard and Middlebury's Brooks finished with six saves each in the game. Bowdoin held a 15-14 advantage in shots.

The Panthers will be back in action on Sunday afternoon when they host Amherst at 2:00 p.m. Bowdoin will return to the field at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday evening at home against Maine-Farmington.