Field hockey falls to Panthers

Going into the game with a respectable 5-3 record (1-3 in conference), hopes were high for Colby Field Hockey in their battle against Middlebury. Despite a tenacious effort in the chilly Saturday weather which saw the Mules tie the game twice, they were unable to overcome the Panthers, losing 6-2.
The Panthers, who entered the game with a 5-1 record (3-1 in conference), quickly proved their worth with a goal at 4:29 from first year Molly Freeman, who tapped the ball in from six yards after an assist from Pam Schulman. Not satisfied with their first goal, Middlebury then pressed the attack, but a strong defense mounted by the Mules held the score at 1-0.
Despite Middlebury’s attacking style, the Mules countered well, which lead to a 10-minute period of back and forth play between the two sides. The Mules’ tenacity paid off at the 15:37 mark, with midfielder Megan Fortier ’16 slotting a pass to forward McKayla Blanch ’17, who tapped it in from four yards to tie the score at one-all.
Unfortunately for the Mules, their celebrations did not last long, as Molly Freeman scored a second goal for the Panthers off a breakaway at 17:45, just over two minutes after Colby’s equalizer.
Still determined to defeat Middlebury, the Mules again launched their attack. After a series of quick passes, Fortier fired a shot from 12 yards out past a Middlebury goalkeeper, tieing the score at 2-2. The Panthers then began an all out attack, as Bridget Instrum tapped in at 29:25 to make it 3-2.
The Panthers found yet another scoring opportunity before halftime, as Anna Kenyon sent a pass to Molly Freedman, who tipped the ball in off the post for her first career hat trick. The first half would end at 4-2 in favor of the Panthers, a scoreline that perhaps did not reflect the close nature of the game.
Despite a competitive first half, the second half did not bode nearly as well for the Mules. Although they were able to hold the Panthers at bay for over 15 minutes, Middlebury found a way through, with Susanna Baker scoring her first career goal in the 51st minute. Receiving the ball eight yards from goal, she quickly fired a shot into the right edge of the cage, bringing the score to 5-2.
The game’s final goal came in the 67th minute, as Middlebury’s Lauren Schweppe scored her first career goal from six yards out. Despite a final rally and attack into Middlebury’s half, the Mules were unable to recover, with the game ending 6-2 in favor of the Panthers.
The Mules can still walk away from the game with their heads held high, having put in some impressive individual performance. Goalkeeper and Co-Captain Sarah Evans ’16 blocked eight shots, while Fortier’s early strike marked the 40th goal of her career. With games against Husson and Wesleyan coming up this week, the Mules are no doubt looking to improve and claim two wins.

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