Jeffs Drop Heartbreaker to Middlebury, 4-3

TankContact: Ben Badua

BOX SCORE

PHOTO GALLERY
(Courtesy of Megan Robertson '15)

AMHERST, Mass. - Catherine Fowler ’14 netted the game winner just over six and a half minutes into overtime to lift the third-ranked Middlebury field hockey team to a hard-fought 4-3 over No. 16 Amherst on Gooding Field.

Dropping their second consecutive game to the Panthers in overtime, the Jeffs fell to 2-8 against their northern rivals dating back to 2007. Last season, four of five Amherst’s losses came in an extra session, including a 3-2 defeat at the hands of the Panthers in the NESCAC semifinals.

Madeline Tank ’15 led the charge for the Purple & White, netting a pair of goals, including a second half equalizer in the 42nd minute. Annika Nygren ’16 accounted for the other Jeff score, while Krista Zsitvay ’14 and Annie Turnbull ’16 each had an assist.

Notching a pair of goals in the first half, Fowler’s final tally closed out an impressive season-opening hat-trick for the junior midfielder. Hannah Deoul ’14 also got on the scoreboard for the Panthers, thanks to a Fowler assist.  

Controlling play in the early going, Amherst won a penalty corner on its first possession. Receiving the ball at the top of the circle, Alex Philie ’14 put a shot on net, but Middlebury goalkeeper Emily Knapp ’15 got a pad on the early try to keep the visitors level.

Threatening in the sixth minute, the Panthers’ Madeleine Despins ’15 and Deoul got a pair of shots off from point-blank range but could not push it across the goal line. Coming forward on a counter, Deoul looked to have a breakaway with just under 23 minutes to play in the first, but coming off her line, a charging Rachel Tannenbaum ’15 met the forward at the edge of the circle to knock the ball away.

Keeping the pressure on, Middlebury caught Tannenbaum out of the position as the Panthers earned a penalty stroke. Stepping up to take the shot, Fowler beat Amherst’s sophomore netminder for the game’s first tally. Just over six minutes later, Fowler again found the back of the net, tucking a Bridget Instrum ’16 pass into the left corner.

Looking to change the momentum just before the end of the half, Amherst won a penalty corner. Receiving the insert from Ellie Andersen ’15 at the top of the circle, Zsitvay floated a pass to the back post, finding the stick of Nygren, who hammered home the Jeffs’ first marker of 2013.

Riding the wave into the second half, Tank knotted things at two just minutes into the stanza by deflecting a shot from Turnbull inside the left post. Racing up the left side, Fowler threaded a feed across the crease to Deoul on the right post to pull Middlebury back ahead.

Less than a minute later, Tank capped off a frenzied stretch with her second of the game, slotting a try into the left side of the cage to make it 3-3 shortly after the restart. With under 10 minutes to play, Zsitvay looked to be in alone on a breakaway, but a heady Knapp cut off the play by sliding and slapping the ball away before the forward could put a shot on net.

With neither team able to net the game winner in regulation the contest headed into the first sudden-victory overtime session. Applying much of the pressure early, Middlebury earned a trio of penalty corners in the first three minutes, with Fowler putting a pair of chances on net. Trying to get something going, Amherst gained possession with Turnbull carrying it up the middle of the field. Looking for a streaking Andersen on the left side, Turnbull tried to slot a lead pass, but was cut off by a charging Knapp, who kicked the ball away from danger.

Moving back into the Amherst circle, the Panthers won their fourth corner of the extra session. Corralling the ball on the left side, Fowler broke toward goal, side-stepping Tannenbaum before ripping a low shot into the net while going to the ground to seal the victory.

Amherst finished with a slight 19-17 shot advantage and a 13-11 edge in penalty corners. Tannenbaum made eight saves in her season debut, while Knapp made 13 stops in the win.

The Jeffs return to action on Tuesday, Sept. 10 at Mount Holyoke.