The Weather App Was Right: Field Hockey Heating Up

By CAROLINE BARTLETT

BENJY RENTON
Julia Richards ’20 tracks down the ball against Bowdoin during the game on Sept. 22.

The temperatures may be cooling off, but the Panthers are heating up. A huge weekend saw Bowdoin and Babson fall to our team, the top-ranked in the nation, with scores of 4-2 and 2-1 respectively. 

Anticipation was high going into Saturday’s game against decades-long rival Bowdoin, but Middlebury remained collected, not allowing a single shot for the first 35 minutes. Offensively, nine of Middlebury’s 14 shots were on goal, compared to three of Bowdoin’s nine attempts. The first goal of the match came early, when sophomore Danielle Brown found the back of the net after a penalty corner, assisted by Kelly Coyle ’20. Three minutes later, Erin Nicholas ’21 beat three Bowdoin defenders to score her third goal of the season and increase Middlebury’s lead to 2-0, which would hold for the rest of the first half. In the last half of the game, Grace Jennings ’19 scored two goals in less than five minutes to keep the Panthers on top. 

“Bowdoin is very well-coached and disciplined, so we have to tear their structure apart by out-thinking them and being more creative,” said Jennings on the team’s strategy. “They break down when we change our game plan more than expected because they can’t adjust their structure on the fly.”

On Sunday, fifth-ranked Babson (one of only two teams that was able to beat Middlebury last season) stepped onto Peter Kohn field for the Unite in the Flight Awareness game. Inspired by the team’s motto “Take flight”, the spirit of this game was that no one has to fly alone. 

“The team wanted to raise awareness of diseases that are close to our heart, represented by ribbons on our shirts,” explained Meg Fearey ’21. “These specific ribbons represent the fight against Leukemia, Multiple Sclerosis, PTSD, sexual violence, diabetes, brain cancer, lyme disease, Alzheimer’s, ADD, ADHD and breast cancer.” 

BENJY RENTON
Kelly Coyle ’20 looks for a shot against Bowdoin.

It was an extremely close match that kept fans on the edge of their seats right until the end. With 4:30 left and the game tied at 1-1 (scored by Middlebury’s Danielle Brown), Nicholas carried the ball past Babson defenders and went top corner to score the game-winning goal. 

“It was a lot of fun to be able to play in such a close, exciting game,” said Nicholas. “I think the pressure helped us secure the win because it added intensity to the game. It focused everyone and helped us motivate one another to push through any fatigue.”

Overall, the team’s performance this weekend asserts their authority as top dogs. 

“In both games, we could have easily broken down and panicked,” said Jennings.  “But at no point were players panicking about the scoreboard or questioning each other. Our confidence in our structure and our teammates only grew this weekend, which will help us moving forward during tougher games when we need to respond with tenacity and trust.” 

The Panthers face Skidmore this Wednesday, Sept. 26 and Colby next Saturday, Sept. 29. 

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