By Lily Ives ‘23
Well, they may have never quite seen this one coming on their home field, but the number one ranked Middlebury Panthers now clearly know firsthand the talent, fury, and teamwork the Trinity field hockey squad possesses. On October 15th in Middlebury, Vermont, not only did the Bantams hand the Panthers their first loss since 2019, but they also ended Middlebury’s home-winning streak of 51 games, that they had been building since 2017.
“There truly are no words to describe how much this win means to us as a team,” senior captain Elle Fair told the Tripod adding, “with it being Coach Anne’s final season, we are all beyond thrilled to have been able to accomplish this for her.”
With great talent filling out both squads, the defense controlled the game throughout the contest, with strong scoring opportunities coming at a premium. In the end, the Bants stormed the field in celebration of a 2-1 victory.
After a scoreless first quarter, the Bantams notched the first goal onto the scoreboard just 1:32 into the second quarter off a goal from sophomore Izzy Deveney, assisted by senior captain Riley Nichols. Middlebury struck back with just under five minutes to go in the first half, knotting the contest at 1-1. Emotions ran high as the game remained tied throughout the entirety of the third quarter. Then, it happened. With the play now just over eight minutes into the final quarter, junior Demi Janis delivered arguably the most critical goal of her career, giving the Bantams a 2-1 edge over the number one ranked Panthers. No wonder Janis earned ‘Bantam of the Week’ honors, as well as ‘NESCAC Field Hockey Player of the Week,’ with her clutch, standout performance.
As time ticked down throughout the intense battle, Middlebury desperately searched for ways to find the back of the net in fear of losing both the game and their winning streak. For the Bants, the final few minutes of the contest seemed to take an eternity, as corner after corner was called in favor of the Panthers, granting them countless opportunities to tie the game once and for all. The Bantams, however, showed unrelenting grit in a pressure-filled final quarter, overcoming every challenge and obstacle, never allowing that tying goal to happen.
Senior captain Riley Nichols spoke to that undeniable grit of the team, stating, “in one of the highest of pressure situations of all of our careers, we knew we were going to get the job done—there was no doubt in our minds.” Emlyn Patry, co-captain with Fair and Nichols added to Nichol’s comments, stating with great emotion, “the final minutes of this game were filled with emotions I will never forget. This win truly reflects the dedication this team has, our amazing coaching staff that has brought us to this point, and the past and present members of this program who we would undoubtedly not be here without.”
With this win under their belts, the Bantams bump to an impressive 11-2 overall and 6-2 in conference play. As Fair states, “the grit and love that makes up this team is something so beyond special, and the faith we have in one another is what will propel us into our final games, as well as tournament play.” Roll Bants