NORTHFIELD, Vt. - The Norwich University men's soccer team suffered its first loss of the 2019 season with a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Middlebury College on Tuesday night at Sabine Field.
Middlebury (1-0) received goals from Ben Potter and Drew Goulart en route to the victory and improving to 53-3-5 in the all-time series with the Cadets.
Potter scored in the 13th minute, chasing down a loose ball after a slight 50/50 ball collision with Norwich freshman goalkeeper Robert Wagenseller (Poway, Calif.). Potter was first to the ball at the right of the penalty area and he half volleyed the ball on an arch towards the left post that eventually bounced into the back of the net before the NU defense could chase it down.
Goulart added the dagger in the 71st minute, bury a shot from the top of the 18 into the left corner of the net off an assist from Noah Hannam to make it 2-0 Middlebury. The Panthers moved forward with numbers and made the most of its advantage with Hannam being left alone on the right side and he easily crossed the ball over to a wide open Goulart to set up the goal.
Middlebury outshot Norwich 11-4 in the game. Wagenseller made six saves in goal for the Cadets. Middlebury freshman Ryan Grady made his first collegiate start and picked up the shutout without having to make a save for the Panthers.
Norwich had three golden opportunities to get on the board in the game with the first two coming early in the first half on back-to-back corner kicks. Alex Brannan (Oneonta, N.Y.) nearly found Matt Bento (Brookfield, Conn.) on the far right post for a header but he couldn't quite get a head on the ball while being challenged by a Middlebury defender. On the ensuing corner kick, Amerle Nemeye (Burlington, Vt.) curled a corner kick from the right off the crossbar with a left-footed strike.
The Cadets had their best scoring chance of the game with just under 12 minutes to go in the game with Middlebury being whistled for a penalty in the box to give Norwich a penalty kick. Brannan took the kick and rocketed a shot off the crossbar that had Grady beat, but the ball deflected up into he air and bounced out to the six yard box.
Norwich (2-1) will travel to Plymouth State for its first road game of the 2019 season with a 3:30 p.m. kickoff.