Last year’s champs stay hungry

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Last year’s champs stay hungry

Isabel Chandler ’21 scans the field looking to pass the ball.

Isabel Chandler ’21 scans the field looking to pass the ball.

MICHAEL BORENSTEIN

Isabel Chandler ’21 scans the field looking to pass the ball.

MICHAEL BORENSTEIN

MICHAEL BORENSTEIN

Isabel Chandler ’21 scans the field looking to pass the ball.

By DAN MIGUEL ESPINOSA

The 2019 Middlebury field hockey team returns to the hunt this September, seeking to replicate their success from last season as defending NCAA Champions. They are currently ranked No. 1 amongst all Division III Field Hockey teams. 

Fortunately, the Panthers return most of their productive players from last season. Junior midfielder Erin Nicholas ’21, who earned Nescac Player of the Year in 2018, led last year’s team in goals (17), assists (11) and points (45).  Should Nichloas continue her output from last year, the Panthers will have a lethal contributor on both ends of the field. Senior midfielder Marissa Baker ’20 should also make an impact this season after having been named First Team All-Nescac. 

Lastly, one of the most important components to the Panthers’ success doesn’t score goals, attempt saves, or dish out passes; Coach Katharine DeLorenzo, the 2018 NESCAC Coach of the Year, looks to implement her expertise in bringing squads to championship form. 

DeLorenzo emphasizes forgetting past successes and having a short-term perspective. 

“Some of Coach DeLorenzo’s things are focusing on one game at a time, not talking about winning, and not talking about last season,” Nicholas said. 

The Panthers’ offensive strategy follows a similar philosophy: the team makes adjustments and doesn’t cling onto what made them successful previously. 

“Last year, we’d work the ball on the outside a lot. Now, we’re working to transfer through the midfield a lot more and really utilize our central players,” Nicholas said, when asked about what improvements the team was hoping to make.

Such adjustments appear to be working. 

The Panthers began their season on a roll, having already shutout Wesleyan 7–0 on the road on Sept. 7. Their matchup the very next day, however, proved to be trickier. The Panthers produced just two goals against University of New England in the first three quarters. Thankfully, they gained momentum in the last quarter, ultimately emerging victorious, 5–1.

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