Thanks to a co-educational tradition of more than a century and an impressive track record, women’s sports at Middlebury enjoy a particularly prominent position in both the College community and the life of the town.
Softball achieved varsity status in 1998 and has continued to grow each year. In 2005, the team earned 24 wins and set 20 team or individual single-season records. The Panthers also advanced to the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Championship game with their second-consecutive NESCAC Tournament appearance.
The 2011 team rewrote the record books at Middlebury, earning its first NESCAC title en route to its inaugural NCAA Tournament appearance. The Panthers set a school record with a 30-8 mark, breaking or tying 25 school records. The 2012 squad returned to the postseason with a trip to the NESCAC Championship game.
At the conclusion of the 2019 season, Melanie Mandell '20 became the first Panther to be selected as the NESCAC Player of the Year.
The Panthers play their home games on a state-of-the-art diamond. The composition of the field ensures the team the earliest possible opportunity to play. Along with excellent drainage, the facility includes an in-ground sprinkler system, an electric scoreboard, dugouts, a full fence to NCAA specifications and a panoramic view of the Green Mountains.
Middlebury’s team carries between 16 and 20 players who appear in approximately 25-30 games during the regular season. Practice begins indoors in February, with players expected to attend unless there is an academic conflict. Beginning in the spring of 2000, the team added the tradition of a Florida trip during the spring break, adding between eight and 10 games to the schedule. Players are generally on the field for two hours. Combined with preparation and post-practice activity, the total commitment is about three hours a day.