National Champions Look to Defend Title

Middlebury Field Hockey Ready to Take Flight



Erin Nicholas ’21 scored a goal 25 minutes into the first home game against the University of New England. The Panthers scored a 7-0 win in their third game of the season.


The returning NCAA Champion field hockey team is off to another strong start, remaining undefeated after three games (10-0 v. Castleton, 4-0 v. Connecticut College, 7-0 v. University of New England). After putting in countless hours of hard work in the classroom and on the field during preseason camp, the Panthers are excited to be back in action. Joining the top-ranked team are five first-year athletes: Joan Vera, Hanna Sullivan, Riley Marchin, Nicole Johnson, Grace Murphy and Grace Harlan. They will be looking to fill the shoes of the star-studded senior class of 2018 — Audrey Quirk, Annie Leonard, Eva Dunphy, Caroline Knapp and Carson Peacock — who won two NCAA Championships during their time at Middlebury. 

 “The team is looking great so far,” said goalkeeper Meg Collins ’18.5, known for her ability to remain composed under pressure and also for her warm-up dance moves. “We have a 3-0 record so far which is awesome, but we are much more focused on the process of the game and perfecting our way of playing.” 

 This year’s team is stacked with talent and depth. Grace Jennings ’19, who scored the game-winner in both the 2015 and 2017 National Championships, is one of the few lefties to play college field hockey and is nearly impossible to defend. Amanda Bozorgi ’19, known for her aerial style corner play, brings strong offensive presence while also coming up big in defensive situations. Rounding out the senior class is Molly Freeman, who is great in the circle and contributes a lot of goals on offensive corners as a tipper. 

 Lauren Schweppe ’18, who graduated last year, now uses her expertise as a two-time National Champion and All-American in her new role as assistant coach. Also new to the program is Rachel Polombo, who comes from an assistant coaching position at Salisbury University. They will be working alongside assistant coach Andrea Way who has spent five years at Middlebury. 

 Returning for her 18th season is National Coach of the Year, Katharine DeLorenzo. DeLorenzo has led the Middlebury Field Hockey program to five NESCAC Championships and two NCAA Championships. She has been recognized multiple times as NESCAC and National Coach of the Year, and is known for cultivating team cultures rooted in love and excellence. As she noted in a press conference at the end of last season, “We never talk about winning. We just talk about playing.” 

 Make sure to head down to Peter Kohn Field this Saturday to support the Panthers as they take on Amherst at 11:00 a.m.

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