When the seniors of Middlebury field hockey stood out on the line for the final time of the regular season at Peter Kohn Field, there was a tangible excitement in the air. Typically, a matchup against the seventh ranked team in the nation might instill a fear of not being able to win in front of a cheering home crowd. For the Panthers, however, a win seemed almost inevitable — it only took three and a half minutes of play against Tufts for the Panthers to score. From there, they never looked back, securing a dominant 6–0 victory.
Middlebury now sits comfortably atop the NESCAC standings, 14–0 overall and 9–0 in the conference after the weekend with only one conference game remaining. A prolific offense and a resolute defense has allowed the team to outscore opponents seemingly at will, all while conceding just eight goals all season. Co-captain Audrey Lazar ’24, who recorded a goal and an assist in the win against the Jumbos, indicated that despite the team’s impressive record, the players are not overly concerned about the pressure that comes with their success.
“Although we celebrate the successes of our team, after each game, we often turn our attention to the next upcoming one,” Lazar wrote in an email to The Campus. “We do not practice and play with the intention of defending a win streak.”
The team’s excellent record has been inspired by a number of impressive individual performers. Katie George ’23.5 and Amy Griffin ’24.5 lead the team, scoring with 16 and 14 goals respectively, while Griffin and Caroline Segal ’24.5 lead in assists. Lazar, Lilly Branka ’24.5, and Sadie LeStage ’24 are all having impressive scoring seasons as well, with nine, six and three goals, respectively. However, Lazar highlighted that the team is much more than a few stand-alone talents.
“Each member of [the team] contributes to our collective heartbeat — something that continues to grow stronger as the season progresses,” Lazar said. “We also will continue to build strong connections with each other on and off the field.”
Looking toward the rest of the season, the field hockey team hopes to defend its NESCAC and NCAA titles, both of which they have won for an unprecedented six years running. For the moment, however, the team isn’t overly concerned with chasing titles.
“Our main goal is to improve our quality of field hockey every single day that we have the opportunity to play together,” Lazar said.
If the undefeated defending champions continue to press forward and improve, it is difficult to name a team that could deny them a seventh consecutive national title.
Charles Crounse '24 (he/him) is the senior sports editor for the Campus. He has previously worked as a writer and staff editor for the section. Charles is pursuing a major in environmental policy and a minor in French, and in his free time he enjoys biking, hiking, and exploring Vermont. He is also a member of the club soccer team on campus.