Apex Pranksters: Middlebury Going for the Threepeat

An undefeated season could culminate in a third straight title for Middlebury.

Middlebury vs. Florida at Women’s Centex. Photo: Conrad Stoll — UltiPhotos.com

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Coached by a plastic swan named Steve, sporting dyed hair and eyebrows, and never far from breaking out in song, the Middlebury Pranksters have become synonymous with dominance in the D-III women’s division. The Pranksters have lost a grand total of one game since placing fifth at the 2019 D-III college championships. That was an 8-7 loss to the Carleton College Eclipse in pools at 2022 College Southerns, a tournament that they went on to win, beating out Eclipse in the final 12-10. That was in March of last year. The Pranksters haven’t lost a game in over 13 months. And it certainly isn’t because of a soft schedule: the Pranksters play in the same region as the #2, #4, and #6 seeded teams at Nationals, and they’ve faced off against solid D-I programs like Florida and Nationals-bound UT-Dallas.

I managed to catch senior and field captain Mady Lander amidst preparing for both finals and Nationals and spoke with her about the upcoming tournament, the season, and the Pranksters as a team. She stressed that making it to Nationals is always amazing. “Every time we make it to regionals, it’s not a guarantee that Nationals is going to be the next step…,” she said. “We really never know who we’re going to be up against. It just feels amazing that our trust and the hard work we’ve put in has paid off once again, because it never feels easy.”

This year especially had a lot of moments where that trust was tested and the hard work needed.

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