By Anne Bello
Published Oct 8, 2010 at 7:00 AM ET; Updated Oct 3, 2010 at 9:54 PM ET

Middlebury, VT — Though Middlebury fell one spot in the national rankings compared to the season before, they did finish the year with a winning record and the most wins — 20 — in program history. The Panthers accomplished this without their top player, Virginia Shannon, on the team for the second half of the season.

Shannon has returned from her semester abroad in New Zealand, and she’ll have some company at the top of the ladder. The team will be getting two players who are expected to fill in the top spots. Former Bowdoin standout Elena Laird has transferred to Middlebury and will be competing with the Panthers. Laird played number 1 for Bowdoin during the 2008-2009 and 2007-2008 seasons, and was named First Team All-NESCAC in 2009. First year Abby Jenkins is also expected to be an impact player. Jenkins was ranked #20 GU19 in the US for the 2009-2010 season.

There will be four other first-year players joining the team: Bailey Marshall (St. Andrew’s), Amanda Chen (Lawrenceville), Katie Yates (Rye Country Day), and Caroline DeCamp (Agnes Irwin). All but three players from last year’s team championships roster will be back. Avery Tilney, who played number 1 after Shannon went abroad, and Ashley Panichelli and Lee McKenna, who both played at the bottom of the line-up, graduated in the spring. Shannon and junior Kathryn Bostwick will serve as team captains.

The Panthers will play all of their key matches in the second half of the season. They’ll take on Bowdoin, Amherst, Bates, Brown, and Mount Holyoke in January, and they’ll face Williams in February. The team can also look forward to playing in a new facility in the near future.

2009-2010 SEASON RECAP

Season Record: 20-9
Final Ranking: 14
Team Championships: 14th Over All; 6th in Kurtz Cup (B Division)

2010-2011 SEASON PREVIEW

Program Status: Varsity

Head Coach:
John Illig

Returning Players from Team Championships: Lindsay Becker (6); Al Boillot (8); Kathryn Bostwick (2); Jamie Burchfield (5); Sarah DeCamp (3); Molly Hubbard (4); Virginia Shannon (DNP; 2nd Team All-NESCAC; 2009-2010 Captain); Annie Ulrich (7)

Graduates on Last Season’s Team Championships Roster: Lee McKenna (10); Ashley Panichelli (9; 2009-2010 Captain); Avery Tilney (1; 2nd Team All-NESCAC; 2009-2010 Captain)

Additions to the 2010-2011 Roster:
Elena Laird, Abby Jenkins, Baily Marshall, Amanda Chen, Katie Yates, and Caroline DeCamp

Captains:
Virginia Shannon and Kathryn Bostwick

Team Goals:
Bond as a team and play well

Key Matches: Amherst, Bowdoin, Bates, Brown, Williams, Mount Holyoke

To read other team previews, please visit the 2010 – 2011 College Squash Preview Page.