|Celia Lewis picked up a defensive save against Middlebury on Saturday.|
MEDFORD – In a fast paced contest on Homecoming weekend at Tufts, the No. 3 Middlebury field hockey team got two goals from sophomore Annie Leonard and topped the No. 16 Tufts 3-0, on Bello Field.
The Jumbos move to 7-3 overall and 5-2 in NESCAC play with the loss. Middlebury is now 9-1 this season, with a 5-1 conference record. Their lone loss came to No. 1 Bowdoin, 2-1, earlier this season.
It took both teams a while to generate any offensive pressure. The first shot on goal for either team came just a little over 15 minutes into the first half when Middlebury's Anna Kenyon was able to get the ball towards the net, but Tufts rookie net minder Emily Polinski made the save to keep the score locked at zero.
The Jumbos drew the first penalty corner with just under 15 minutes remaining in the half. Jumbo rookie Hanaa Malik was able to unleash a shot and Middlebury keeper Emily Miller made the save. Malik got her own rebound and tried again, but this time it was Jillian Green stopping her, picking up her first defensive save of the season.
Middlebury hit their stride a bit towards the end of the first half, drawing their first penalty corner with just under five minutes remaining in the first half. The Panthers were able to get a shot off, but sophomore Celia Lewis picked up her first defensive save of the season to keep the Panthers off the board.
Just a little over two minutes later the visitors drew another penalty corner, and this time they were able to score. Grace Jennings found Bridget Instrum in front of the net, and Instrum got the ball past Polinksi for her fifth goal of the season, giving Middlebury the 1-0 lead.
After the first frame the Panthers had a 1-0 lead. They also held the advantage in shots, 7-6, but the Jumbos had four penalty corners in the first half to Middlebury's two.
The Panthers put the pressure on the Jumbos early in the second half, drawing their first penalty corner just over five minutes into play. But the Jumbos were able to use strong defense to not allow a shot on goal. The Panthers and the Jumbos would exchange possession for most of the beginning of the second half, able to get a shot on goal here and there, but not able to score.
Just under 20 minutes into the period the Panthers made it 2-0 off the stick of Annie Leonard. In the commotion in front of the net Polinski went out to try and get the ball away from the net, and Audrey Quirk found Leonard who was able to easily put the ball into the cage to make it 2-0.
With a little more than five minutes remaining in the game the Jumbos had a chance to score when they drew a penalty corner, but senior Dakota Sikes-Keilp rifled a shot that was just wide.
The Panthers made it 3-0 with just under a minute to play with a breakaway from Leonard, who made a nice move around Polinski and scored her second of the day.
The Panthers finished with the advantage in shots, 13-8, while the Jumbos had the advantage in corners, 6-4. Miller finished with five saves in the win, while Polinski totaled eight saves in the loss for the Jumbos.
Middlebury will be back in action tomorrow when they travel to Wesleyan for a 12 pm start with the Cardinals. The Jumbos take the field again on Monday, when they host No. 14 Christopher Newport with a scheduled 2 pm start.
Game Photos by Alonso Nichols / Tufts