NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. — Manhattanville came into this season with two dates circled on the schedule.
The first was a November 20 date with second-ranked Williams, which ended in a 5-3 win that moved the Valiants to No. 3 in the country. The second was a January 26 meeting with No. 1 Middlebury, which hadn’t lost a Division III game in seven years.
That one ended in the Valiants’ favor as well, as Manhattanville snapped the Panthers’ 136-game unbeaten streak with a 4-1 win Saturday afternoon at New Roc City to improve to 15-0-1. The Valiants never allowed Middlebury into the game, giving the Panthers all they could handle for 60 minutes in the historic victory.
In the game’s first 10 minutes, the two teams felt each other out; once both developed a rhythm, the offensive pace picked up and freshman sensation Cherie Stewart made Middlebury pay when she tallied her team-leading 22nd goal of the year to put the Valiants in front, 1-0.
Playing in front of a sellout crowd of over 1,000 fans, the Valiants came out blazing in the second period and jumped ahead 2-0 on a slapshot from freshman Jen Mulick from just inside the blue line.
As that goal was being announced, sophomore Amanda Zimecki tallied her 12th goal of the year to give Manhattanville the 3-0 edge. Zimecki blew around a Middlebury defender and fired the puck into the upper right hand corner and over the glove hand of Panther goaltender Megan Hutchinson.
After the Panthers closed to 3-1 with just over eight minutes remaining, junior Lindsey Dorval clinched the victory with her first goal of the season.
“We were getting a little nervous at first,” Dorval said. “We’d never been in a position like [that].”
Playing a superb game in net for the Valiants was sophomore Renee Kirnan with 26 saves, including 10 in both the second and third periods.
The Manhattanville defense played possibly its best game of the season, led by assistant captain Lindsey Paulsrud and junior Nicole Stephens.
“This really means a lot,” Manhattanville head coach Rick Seeley said. “Only one team gets to end the streak.”