Field Hockey Looks to Defend Home Turf


Emma Stapleton

Field hockey celebrates its 4–1 win over Bates on Saturday, Oct. 28. With the win, the top-seeded Panthers move into the semfinals of the Nescac championships, where they will face seventh-seeded Bowdoin on Saturday, Nov. 4. The Panthers will host the semfinals and finals of Nescacs on Kohn Field.


The second-ranked women’s field hockey team kept their winning streak alive with a 4-1 triumph over Bates this past Saturday, Oct. 28. This victory, their tenth straight, garnered the Panthers a spot in the semifinals of the Nescac tournament next weekend at home against Bowdoin.

Seeded first coming into the conference tournament, the Panthers felt the pressure of being the favorite. But they quickly took control Saturday afternoon, asserting themselves over the Bobcat defense within the first few minutes of the first half.

Middlebury’s offense set the tone for the game when Emma Johns ’20 pulled the Panthers ahead by scoring off an assist from captain Annie Leonard ’18. Both teams created strong opportunities, but only Middlebury was able to capitalize on them: the Panthers continued to surge past Bates as Grace Jennings ’19 scored her first goal of the game, pushing her total to nine for the season.

Meanwhile, the Panther defense continued to dominate, shutting out the Bobcats in the first 35 minutes of play and affording them only a single shot on goal.

“Saturday was a really good game,” said Ally Denby ‘20 afterwards. “Going into the tournament we were the number one seed and Bates was eighth, but I don’t necessarily think that that ranking is indicative of how good of a team they are, and we were by no means guaranteed to win.”

The Bobcats did avoid a shutout, sneaking in a goal almost halfway into the second half to make it a one goal game.

The Panthers, however, did not let up: Jennings responded with her second goal of the afternoon on a breakaway. Intercepting the ball from the half-line, she outran four Bobcats before sliding the ball in past the right post.

But Middlebury was not satisfied with a 3–1 lead, either. Marissa Baker ’20 closed the game out with her eighth goal of the season and tenth of her career on an assist from Isabel Chandler ’21, beating the final buzzer by just a few seconds.

“Next weekend in the semifinals we’re playing Bowdoin, which will also be a really intense game,” said Denby. “We beat them in double overtime in the regular season and we ended their season in the semis last year, so they’ll definitely come out strong. I think to prepare we’re going to be focusing a lot on executing the small details well (like keeping our sticks on the ground and perfecting our press). We also need to make sure that we come out aggressive in the first couple minutes score first like we did for Bates. Momentum is always a huge factor when we play Bowdoin.”

Bowdoin will be visiting Kohn Field at 11:00 this Saturday, Nov. 4. The Panthers can secure an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament by winning both games this weekend (the semifinal victors will meet in the championship match on Sunday, Nov. 5). That being said, their strong season and high national ranking would all but guarantee them a tournament bid should they fall short of a Nescac title.