MIDDLEBURY, Vt. – Freshman goalkeeper Andi McGraw (Sheffield, Mass.) turned away eight shots, but it wasn't enough, as the Connecticut College field hockey team fell to fourth-ranked Middlebury by a 4-1 score in the NESCAC opener for both schools on Sunday afternoon at Peter Kohn Field.
The teams played a competitive field half and appeared to be headed to the break deadlocked at 1-1, but Middlebury earned a penalty corner in the waning seconds and capitalized on the opportunity. Lauren Schweppe connected with Molly Freeman, who tipped the ball past McGraw after time had expired to give the hosts a one-goal advantage at halftime as well as the momentum.
Middlebury (2-0, NESCAC 1-0) then added two insurance goals in the second half. Annie Leonard found the back of the cage at the 47:29 mark, and Erin Nicholas tallied an insurance marker less than four minutes later to put the game out of reach.
After Freeman tipped in a shot from Schweppe to put the Panthers on the board in the 17th minute, Connecticut College came right back and evened the score just 5:35 later. With a scrum of players from both sides fighting for position in front of the goal, junior Enya McGarry (Woodstock, Md.) redirected a shot from freshman Caroline Ferro (Wilton, Conn.) to even the score at the 22:27 mark.
The Camels nearly took the lead with less than seven minutes remaining in the opening half when a dangerous ball came towards the stick of Sophie Pollinger (Summit, N.J.), but the sophomore's attempt to redirect it past goalkeeper Megan Collins failed. Two shots taken by Ferro as well as a penalty corner were also unsuccessful before Freeman tipped in her second marker of the game at the end of the half to put the Panthers ahead for good.
Collins picked up the victory in the cage by making one save for Middlebury, which held a 20-5 advantage in total shots and an 11-4 edge in penalty corners. McGraw turned away eight shots for the Camels in the setback.
Connecticut College (0-2, NESCAC 0-1), which has faced a pair of top-five programs in the latest NFHCA national poll to begin the season, returns to action when it entertains Smith in its home opener on Wednesday, Sept. 13 at 7:00 p.m.