Midd Field Hockey claims fourth straight national title
Panthers down Johns Hopkins 4-1, finish perfect season
HARTFORD, Conn. (WCAX) - The Middlebury Panthers are champions of NCAA D-III Field Hockey once again following a 4-1 win over Johns Hopkins Sunday afternoon from the campus of Trinity College. The victory capped off a perfect 22-0 season and allowed Midd to bring home a fourth straight championship.
The Panthers were on the front foot right from the start. Sophomore forward Katie George struck less than ten minutes in on a scrum in front, and after Midd earned a penalty stroke near the end of the opening quarter, two-time National Player of the Year Erin Nicholas converted to push the lead to 2-0.
After a scoreless second, Hopkins came out flying in the third. But the Blue Jays struggled to solve the Panther defense all day, and when George added her second goal of the game and fourth of the Final Four weekend on a backhand rocket, the game was pretty much decided.
Playing in her final collegiate field hockey game, Nicholas capped off the win with a blast from the point off a corner in the fourth.
After the 2020 campaign was canceled due to COVID, Nicholas was one of a handful of seniors who took last year off to be able to come back to chase a fourth title, so this one was especially sweet.
“So many emotions flying around,” Nicholas said after the game. “I think a bit of shock that things are finally ending, but I think the happiest possible note to end my career on with this team, this group. I’m so lucky to have been a part of this team this year with my coaches and the teammates that I had, so I’m just really grateful.”
“Oh, pure excitement,” George added. “We started this game and we said we were gonna do this for our senior class. They have been such a great group of women to lead us, to inspire us, and to really be amazing role models. And I’m so grateful that i got to play with them and learn from them.”
The championship is the fifth for head coach Katherine DeLorenzo, but the 2021 season will go down as the first perfect campaign in her 21 seasons as Midd’s head coach.
“It’s a bit surreal actually,” DeLorenzo said. “I’d say what makes it so different and so special is how we were able to pour ourselves into it for two years and really change ourselves. We were able to grow in ways that fast lane of life didn’t really give room for before, and I’m so excited about the future.”
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