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Monday, Dec 11, 2023

Middlebury field hockey boasts three All-NESCAC honorees as they advance to NCAA Final Four

Charlotte Marks '23.5 moves the ball upfield in an 8–0 win over MIT.
Charlotte Marks '23.5 moves the ball upfield in an 8–0 win over MIT.

Approaching the end of a dominant season, there is no doubt that Middlebury has more than a few critical players that have contributed to the success they have found on the field; yet, this year, three stars, Katie George ’23.5, Amy Griffin ’24.5 and Charlotte Marks ’23.5 stand out as All-Conference winners for their consistent and unrelenting efforts on the field, guiding the team to its fifth consecutive NESCAC title, 50th NCAA tournament win and to the NCAA Final Four, with a chance to compete for another National Championship.

Returning as the reigning rookie of the year, Griffin didn’t let up this season, topping the NESCAC in points scored and earning a spot on the all-NESCAC first team. Griffin was humble in her acceptance of the award. “The other players on both the first and second teams are all skilled, and I am grateful to have been selected among them,” she said. Griffin solidified her status as one of the top attacking threats in the division this weekend, tallying three assists against MIT (16–5) in  an 8–0 victory to advance to the NCAA quarterfinals and scoring one goal on Sunday against Trinity College (15–5) to lead the team to the semifinals. 

 Across the team, support from one another and the coaching staff seems to be working wonders to push the team forward, both as a unit and on the individual level. As a defender, Marks’ individual success can’t be reflected by dominating the leaderboards in goals or assists. Rather, her steadfast job protecting goalie Grace Harlan ’22.5 earned her second-team All-NESCAC honors. Marks was quick to credit her teammates for her success.

“It's hard to choose any one person on our team for NESCAC awards, as so many deserve the recognition,” Marks said. “I'm feeling lucky that I have the most amazing teammates who push me to get better every day in practice and help me succeed in my role.”

Following a win with authority against MIT, anticipation was high for the matchup against NESCAC rival Trinity (15–5), who handed the Panthers their only loss of the season earlier this fall. “We knew we had what it took to beat Trinity,” Marks said. “We just had to go out there and play our game.” 

The high-stakes of tournament play, coupled with Middlebury’s desire for revenge, resulted in a  scrappy first quarter with both teams battling for possession. Goals from Sadie LeStage’23.5 (assisted by Hanna Medwar ’25), George and Griffin ultimately led the Panthers to a decisive win on their home field, sending the Bantams home and clinching a spot in the NCAA Final Four.  

Looking ahead to the matchup against Rowan University (21–1), Marks said the Panthers’ primary focus will be to shut down key opposition players with clean defense and to play a controlled possession game. 

After a long season of top-tier field hockey, the road to New Jersey has finally become a reality; Middlebury (19–1) will take on Rowan University this Friday, Nov. 18 at 3 p.m. The Panthers have had answers for every obstacle thrown at them this season. Now, they face their biggest challenge yet, as they search for a record fifth consecutive national title.