CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Facing its first nationally-ranked opponent this season, No. 15 MIT fell to No. 6 Middlebury College, 5-0, in a non-conference field hockey game on Sunday afternoon. Junior Catherine Fowler (Grosse Pointe, Mich.) generated a goal and an assist as the Panthers (8-2) handed the Engineers (9-1) their first loss of the year.
The early stages of the game were a midfield battle, but it was Middlebury that threatened first only to see attempts by freshmen Alex Kuzma (Washington Crossing, Pa.), Lauren Berestecky (Madison, Conn.), and Pam Schulman (Greenwich, Conn.) in the circle get thwarted by the MIT defense. The stalemate ended in the 13th minute when Fowler sent a long pass from the near side into the middle of the arc where it was deflected by senior Katherine Theiss (Wilmette, Ill.) to the near post.
The back-and-forth play returned until sophomore Bridget Instrum (Granby, Mass.) intercepted a pass and wove through the defense to give the Panthers a 2-0 lead. With just over a minute remaining in the half, senior Michelle Teplensky (Somers, N.Y.) set up what proved to be the Engineers' best opportunity of the frame. Her long pass was chased down by junior Caitlin Mackey (San Diego, Calif.) and later resulted in a penalty corner with 10 seconds on the clock. Freshman Jane Coffrin's (Cape Elizabeth, Maine) bid was kicked away by junior goalie Emily Knapp (Scarsdale, N.Y.) with the rebound making its way to senior Molly Duffy (New Providence, N.J.) who was unable to corral the loose ball.
Despite the late surge by the hosts, Middlebury quickly extended its advantage in the second stanza. In the 41st minute, Schulman recorded an unassisted marker that was matched by Fowler 49 seconds later to put the Panthers up, 4-0. Following a shot on goal by Teplensky, the momentum shifted to the Engineers as senior Erin Kenney (Glen Ellyn, Ill.) sent a dangerous pass from just outside the top of the arc that forced Knapp to come off her line. Shortly thereafter, Teplensky put the ball into an empty circle but the MIT attack could not come up with a deflection.
Middlebury controlled the action during the next 10 minutes as it capped the scoring in the 64th minute. During a scramble in front of the net, senior Elinore O'Brien (New Canaan, Conn.) emerged with ball and found Berestecky who dodged a defender for the goal. The Engineers continued to attack despite the deficit as they generated a pair of penalty corners during the final two minutes of action.
In net, MIT sophomore Evie Kyritsis (Mountain Lakes, N.J.) posted five saves in 42 minutes while classmate Paige Kennedy (Eastchester, N.Y.) closed out the game with three stops, including a leaping swat at the upper corner of the cage. Knapp finished the day with four saves in her third shutout of the season for the Panthers.
Both squads resume conference play this week. MIT will host NEWMAC foe Wheaton College on Tuesday, Oct. 8 while Middlebury returns home to square off with NESCAC rival Trinity College on Saturday, Oct. 12.