Furious Comeback Effort Falls Just Short as No.19 Amherst Is Edged by No.1 Middlebury, 5-4

Furious Comeback Effort Falls Just Short as No.19 Amherst Is Edged by No.1 Middlebury, 5-4

Middlebury, Vt. – Down by four with 30 minutes remaining in regulation, a furious comeback bid by the Mammoths that featured three unanswered scores fell just short as the No. 19 Amherst College field hockey team was edged by top-ranked Middlebury College, 5-4 Saturday afternoon at Kohn Field.

With the loss, Amherst falls to 1-2 on the season and to 0-2 in league action, while Middlebury remains perfect and  improves to 4-0 overall (2-0 NESCAC). The Mammoths return to action on Thursday, Sept. 20 when they travel to Endicott for a 7 p.m. non-conference bout.

Jumping out to a quick 2-0 lead in the opening 10 minutes, Emma Johns got the hosts on the board at the 6:05 mark with an unassisted score before striking once again 1:53 later with a helper from Isabel Chandler following a penalty corner.

Taking a 3-0 edge into the break, the Molly Freeman added another goal for Middlebury with 37 seconds to play before halftime, tipping a pass from Grace Jennings past the Amherst netminder.

Picking up where she left off, Jennings dished out her second assist of the day 2:48 into the second half, connecting with Danielle Brown in the 37th minute to give the Panthers a seemingly comfortable 4-0 lead.  

Igniting the Amherst offense with 29:57 on the clock, Emery Sorvino '19 registered her first goal of the season to net the first of three-straight Mammoth scores in a 10 minute span. Taking advantage of a corner opportunity, Sorvino finished off the rebound after a blast from Kendall Codey '19 to make it 4-1.

Cutting the Mammoths' deficit in half in the 45th minute, Sorvino got her name on the scoresheet once again as she sent a pass from the right end line to Caroline Donahue '21 in front for the tip-in goal.  

Holding the momentum, Amherst got within one with 22:52 to play following an interception by Laura Schwartzman '20 on a clearing attempt. Stickhandling past two defenders, Schwartzman sent a long pass to Natalie Hobbs '22 behind the defense who deflected the ball past the diving Middlebury goalie.  

Stopping the visitors' scoring streak at the 50:18 mark, Johns recorded her third goal of the game with an assist from Isabel Chandler to put the Panthers back up by two.

Getting back within striking distance with 12:50 remaining in regulation, Franny Daniels '21 tallied her second goal of the season to make it 5-4 with time winding down. Codey set up the scoring play for Amherst with clutch pass interception before dishing the ball to Daniels on the left side.  Racing down the field with a defender on her back, Daniels was able to lift a waist high shot past the keeper and into the opposite corner.

Despite the impressive comeback, Amherst was unable to net the equalizer in the final minutes as the Panthers hung on for the 5-4 victory.

In between the pipes, Katie Savage '19 (L, 1-2) made eight saves for the Mammoths in the losing effort, while Megan Collins (W, 4-0) stopped two shots in the win.