Dancing in the Rain, Field Hockey Crushes Colby 5-2


The field hockey team celebrates after its NESCAC quarterfinal win against Colby on Saturday, Oct. 27.

After a decisive victory on Saturday, the field hockey team advances to the NESCAC semifinals, where they take on fifth-ranked Trinity at home. 

Middlebury got off to a great start against Colby, scoring three goals in the first half. Less than four minutes into the game, senior Grace Jennings intercepted a pass and charged up the field, blowing by her opponents before finding the back of the net to make the score 1-0. The Mules retaliated shortly after to tie it up, but Meg Fearey ’21 buried a pass from teammate Erin Nicholas ’21 on a penalty corner to regain the lead. About ten minutes later, Marissa Baker ’20 marked her seventh goal of the season to put the score at 3-1 going into halftime. 

Colby struck first in the second half, cutting Middlebury’s lead to one goal, but the teams were called off the field immediately afterward due to a weather delay. 

“During the rain delay, we talked over the game like we would at halftime,” said Baker. “But the radar wasn’t looking good and we knew were going to have a lot of time to kill, so for an hour and a half we blasted the speakers and had a dance party. On our team, dancing is our way of staying loose and amped.” 

Down the hallway, Colby’s speakers died, which led the team to ask the Bowdoin women’s soccer team to join their dance party. The resulting locker-room dance battle made it onto the NESCAC barstool Instagram and now has almost 10,000 views. “I think that’s a really special moment,” continued Baker. “What more can you ask for out of sports?”

Meg Fearey ’21 scores a goal during the match against Colby off a pass from teammate Erin Nicholas ’21.

Back out on the field, still 35 degrees and raining, Erin Nicholas ’21 marked her 12th goal of the season and Jennings scored for the second time in the match to stretch Middlebury’s lead to 5-2. Meg Collins ’19.5 finished with three saves, while Middlebury dominated shots 19-7 and corners 10-3. 

“We were very excited for the start of postseason and the opportunity to play Colby again,” Nicholas said. “Earlier in the season, we played on their home field, a slower field turf, so it was nice to get the chance to play them on our faster AstroTurf. Everyone stepped up and was focused on our team strategy in order to help secure the win.”

Playoffs bring an added level of excitement to the field, when every game could mean elimination. But the approach remains the same. “We knew that on any given day, any team in the NESCAC can win, so we focused on playing our game and maintaining our structure and intensity throughout,” Nicholas said.

If all goes well on Saturday, the Panthers will compete for the NESCAC Championship on their home field on Sunday. In preparation, the team will continue to develop its game in order to be ready for anything. “Our goal is to improve our own game so that we can execute and perform no matter which team we face out on the field,” said Assistant Coach Lauren Schweppe. 

Come out to support the defending national champions on Saturday at 11 a.m.!