The women's field hockey team had its undefeated season tested with a thrilling 1-0 win over the Middlebury Panthers. Sophomore Cathleen Smith broke last Saturday's scoreless tie in the final five minutes of the game, scoring the game-winning goal during a penalty corner.

Ella Curren '12 had the assist that kept the Polar Bears perfect, feeding the ball to Smith, who then deflected it around the Middlebury goalkeeper.

Sneaking past the Panthers, one of the toughest teams the Polar Bears will face this season, was a big victory for the women, who have been working on defensive pressure all season, coach Nicola Pearson said.

"After we scored, Middlebury put a lot of pressure on us offensively and had multiple penalty corners and several other chances to score," said Pearson. "The defense really played very well."

Captain "Shannon [Malloy '11] really did a great job of shutting down the center forward," said captain Ingrid Oelschlager '11. "We knew we needed to be tight on them and put them under a lot of pressure; [we couldn't] give them room to run."

While happy with the outcome of the game, Pearson wants to work on increasing scoring in the games to come.

"Our offense was good, we did create some good opportunities, but our productivity inside the 25 needs to be better," she said. "We had possession, but we didn't create as many dangerous scoring opportunities."

"We could have used our speed more and really gone at them in fast breaks," Oelschlager added. "We should have kept the ball more in our offensive circle, getting more than just one chance to score."

Curren did take a shot earlier in the game, during another penalty corner, but it deflected off the goal post.

Tomorrow, the Polar Bears will face Connecticut College on their home turf. According to Pearson, the Camels have a fast, aggressive forward line and a tough defensive line that will be hard to penetrate.

In preparation, the team will be working on connecting better in transitions. Midfielders have been working on being more of a scoring threat, and the women are always working on moving the ball more efficiently.

"We really want to move the ball," Oelschlager said. "We're going to be working on using our speed and passing combinations and really being a wall in one-on-one defense."

The women will play University of Maine-Farmington on Wednesday, however, their current focus is centered on Connecticut College.

"After every game we'll break it down and look at the things we're doing well and where we're not performing at the level we want to and design practice around it," Pearson said. "Next Monday we'll start to focus on Farmington."