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Wednesday, Dec 1, 2021

Week in Review: Varsity teams go undefeated at home, cross country teams place high at NESCAC Championship

Middlebury football fans cheer on the team during their 42–35 win over Bowdoin on Saturday, Oct. 30. Men’s football was one of five varsity teams to win at home last weekend. (Courtesy of Benjy Renton)
Middlebury football fans cheer on the team during their 42–35 win over Bowdoin on Saturday, Oct. 30. Men’s football was one of five varsity teams to win at home last weekend. (Courtesy of Benjy Renton)

Men’s cross country

On Sunday, men’s cross country placed second in the NESCAC Championship meet at Wickham Park in Manchester, Connecticut. The Panthers (59 points) were narrowly defeated by Williams (51 points) in a tight race.

Zander Kessler ’22.5 finished second overall in the 153-man event, running 25:05.4 for an 8k (5:03 per mile). Drew Donahue ’25 (seventh), Quin McGaugh ’22 (10th), Alec Gironda ’24 (11th) and Max Cluss ’23 (29th) also scored for the Panthers. Middlebury was the only team in the NESCAC to place four runners in the top 11. 

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Zander Kessler ’22.5 (right) finished second at the NESCAC Cross Country Championship meet on Sunday, Oct. 31. (Courtesy of John Kenny)

The Panthers will now shift their focus to NCAA Regionals on Nov. 13 in Waterford, Conn.

Women’s cross country

Women’s cross country (93 points) finished third in the NESCAC Championship race, just behind Williams (65 points) and Tufts (78 points)

Cassie Kearney ’22 led the way for Middlebury, finishing second overall (22:59) out of 148 participants in the 6k race. Bea Parr ’25 wasn’t far behind, finishing in seventh. Morgane Orcutt ’25 (25th), Kate Kenny ’23 (29th) and Nicole Johnson ’22 (30th) also scored for the Panthers. 

The team is back in action on Nov. 13, when they will race at NCAA Regionals in Waterford, Conn.

Field hockey

Top-seeded field hockey earned their 16th win of the season on Saturday, defeating Bates, 4–0, in the NESCAC Quarterfinals. The Panthers are 16–0 for the season and have now won 43 straight games on Kohn Field. 

Erin Nicholas ’22 opened the scoring just three minutes into the match, and then Panthers never looked back. Nicholas scored a second at the 34:49 mark, and goals from Isabel Chandler ’21.5 and Audrey Lazar ’23 rounded out the dominant victory. 

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Field hockey celebrates a goal during their 4–0 triumph over Bates on Saturday, Oct. 30. (Courtesy of Benjy Renton)

Since the Panthers are the top seed in the NESCAC, they will host the NESCAC tournament this weekend. On Saturday, Middlebury will play Trinity, followed by a head-to-head match between Bowdoin and Tufts. On Sunday, the two winners will vie for the NESCAC title at 12 p.m. 

Football

Football earned its second win of the season on Saturday, edging out Bowdoin, 43–35. Quarterback Will Jernigan ’21.5 was particularly stellar in the win, rushing for 203 yards and throwing for 200. For his efforts, Jernigan was named NESCAC Offensive Player of the Week. Donovan Wood ’24 was also a key contributor on the Panthers offense, catching six passes for 159 yards. Wood leads the team with 497 receiving yards on the season.

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Quarterback Will Jernigan ’21.5 (#12) celebrates a touchdown against Bowdoin. (Courtesy of Benjy Renton)

The Panthers have two more games this season. Next Saturday, they visit Hamilton College, and then the following Saturday, they host Tufts.

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Men’s soccer

Saturday’s match between men’s soccer and Wesleyan was one to remember. 

In the tightly contested NESCAC Quarterfinals game, the teams traded chances throughout, but the 0–0 deadlock wasn’t broken through full time and two ten-minute overtime periods. In the penalty kick shootout that followed, the Panthers were perfect from the spot, scoring five straight kicks to beat Wesleyan, 5–4. Ryan Grady ’23 made a huge stop on Wesleyan’s first penalty, and Jordan Saint-Louis ’24 punched home the decisive kick. 

For his efforts, Grady was named the NESCAC Player of the Week. Grady currently leads the NESCAC in shutouts (10) and goals against average (.359). 

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Men’s soccer celebrates their win against Wesleyan in front of fans on Saturday, Oct. 30. The Panthers won in a penalty shootout, 5–4, after the match finished 0–0. (Courtesy of Benjy Renton)

On Saturday, the Panthers face Tufts in the NESCAC Semifinals in New London, Conn. Should they win, they will face the winner of the other semifinal game between Connecticut College and Colby on Sunday. 

Women’s soccer

A late strike from Eliza Robinson ’21.5 helped women’s soccer to a 2–1 win over Connecticut College on Saturday at South Street Field. Connecticut College opened the scoring early in the second half, but Joely Virzi ’24 scored the equalizer less than two minutes later. Robinson’s game-winning goal in the 77th minute was her third of the season. 

Women’s soccer will face Amherst College in Amherst, Mass. next Saturday in the NESCAC Quarterfinals. If they win, they will face the winner of Wesleyan-Hamilton in the finals.

Volleyball

For the first time since 2012, women’s volleyball has won 20 regular season games. 

Last Friday and Saturday, the team defeated both Williams and Hamilton, respectively, in three straight sets.

Before Friday’s game, the Panthers celebrated senior night. This season, there are five seniors on the team: Corley Doyle ’22, Isabella Marcus ’22, Jane Nelson ’22, Maggie Wise ’22 and Ali Wheeler ’22. 

Against Williams, Wise led all players in kills (11) and Gabbie O’Toole ’25 earned a match-high 32 assists. Lucy Ambach ’23 also played well, recording five blocks. 

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The seniors on women’s volleyball pose for a picture on senior night. From left: Corley Doyle ’22, Maggie Wise ’22, Ali Wheeler ’22, Jane Nelson ’22, Isabella Marcus ’22 and assistant coach Jack English ’21.5. (Courtesy of Sarah Raunecker)

On Saturday, volleyball sustained their momentum and defeated Hamilton, 3–0. Katie Kraczkowsky ’24 (14 digs), Doyle (14 kills, three blocks) and O’Toole (34 assists) led the way for the Panthers.

With the pair of wins, the Panthers are now 20–4 on the season and enter the NESCAC tournament as the fourth seed. The tournament will span from Friday, Nov. 5 to Sunday, Nov. 7 in Brunswick, Maine. The Panthers open the competition against fifth-seeded Amherst on Friday at 7:30 p.m.  

Editor’s Note: Isabella Marcus ’22 is a Sports Editor for The Campus. 


Blaise Siefer

Blaise Siefer ‘23 is the Senior Sports Editor.

Siefer is majoring in Sociology and plans to minor in Spanish.

Now in his third year writing for The Campus, Siefer has covered  several varsity teams and has written numerous feature stories for the  sports section. Last year, he began to host and produce a sports  podcast, Siefer's Scoop, which he will continue to run throughout the  '21-22 academic year. The podcast tells the stories of Middlebury's  varsity athletes, both past and present.

Siefer is also the co-president of Middlebury Club Soccer.


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