Midd Field Hockey returns to defend national title...again

Panthers hoping returners and newcomers can find right combination
Published: Sep. 1, 2021 at 11:02 PM EDT
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MIDDLEBURY, Vt. (WCAX) - The Fall sports season at many of our local colleges is already underway. Fans will have to wait a bit longer to see Middlebury’s teams return to the field, but it should be worth the wait.

Nowhere is that sense of anticipation stronger than on the turf at Kohn Field. The Middlebury Field Hockey team is back to practice, preparing once again to defend their crown.

There was no D-III field hockey season last school year, but four of the last five Panther seasons have ended with the women from Midd lifting the national championship trophy. That includes each of the last three from 2017-19.

Like many other sports teams around the country, Middlebury’s players and coaches have had to get a little creative with roster construction given the logjam of incoming players and returning seniors who without COVID would have already graduated. But the Panthers are feeling their way through things as they get set to chase yet another national title.

“I have very high expectations for our team,” said Erin Nicholas, a two-time National Player of the Year who took a semester off last year to postpone graduation and be able to return for her final year of field hockey. “We all have very high expectations for ourselves because we know that we can perform at a very high level. So we set the bar high and we raise the level of play everyday at practice so that we can come into the games and surprise everyone with what we’re bringing.”

“We’re just really excited to be back,” added Joan Vera, a South Burlington grad and an original member of the Midd Class of 2022. “17 months apart was a long time and so we’ve just been brewing with excitement and anticipation so we’re hoping to pick up where we left off. Still a lot of work to do, but very excited to hit the ground running.”

The Panthers begin their season Tuesday as they host Castleton.

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