The 1998 Field Hockey team was dominant from the start of the season all the way to the last game. In the regular season, the Panthers dropped only one game to Keene State 1-0. The Panthers were undefeated in NESCAC competition and the highlight of the regular season came in the final game against Trinity. Both teams were highly ranked entering the matchup, and there was plenty of hype. Middlebury prevailed in a tight 2-1 victory giving them momentum, and a #2 National Ranking, heading into the NCAA tournament.
Skidmore drew Middlebury in the first round and proved to be overwhelmed by the skill of the Panthers. Middlebury easily advanced to the next round with a 5-2 victory. Up next was the College of New Jersey. The contest was close and tied 2-2 late. Facing elimination, Muffy Peters stepped up and scored the game-winning goal, clinching a Final Four birth.
In the first game of the Final Four Middlebury would face a familiar foe in the Trinity Bantams. The contest was supposed to be another barnburner, but Middlebury’s star player had other plans. Tri-Captain Heidi Howard set the tone with a Hat Trick and Middlebury cruised to a 4-1 win, sending them to the National Championship game. William Smith awaited the Panthers with the benefit of home field advantage. This game ended up being one of the closest of the season, and regulation couldn’t decide the winner. Overtime went back and forth until Kully Hagerman made the biggest play of the season. Her Overtime game-winning goal made the 1998 Field Hockey team National Champions.
Several Panthers received individual accolades for their efforts. The most impressive honors went to Heidi Howard, who was selected as a First-Team All American for the incredible third straight year. She also received the NCAA tournament MVP award. In addition Heidi Dripps earned Third-Team All American honors and Becky Drake was a Regional All American. Kully Hagerman and her knack for clutch goals earned First-Team All NESCAC honors. Rounding out the accolades was Second-Team All NESCAC Laura Parmelee, who was a key to success as a consistent presence in goal.
Source: 1999 Middlebury College Kaleidoscope