After graduating as one of the of the most successful athletes in program history, field hockey forward Carol Middough ’18 is extending her competitive athletic career to play professionally in Bristol, England, this fall.
During her four years with the Bulldogs, Middough rewrote the record books and helped her team improve drastically from a dismal 3–14 record her rookie season to a winning 9–8 overall record her final year. However, like the majority of Yale athletes, Middough assumed her days of competitive play would be over upon graduation in May — that is, until she got in touch with a coach for the Clifton Robinsons of the Premier League in England.
“Once the season ended last fall, I was positive that my competitive playing days were over,” Middough said. “There aren’t too many opportunities to play in the U.S. once you graduate college, and the few options that are available are not very serious. [But head coach] Pam [Stuper] had first floated the idea of playing abroad to me after the season had ended, [and] I felt like it was a great opportunity for me to not only continue playing but to explore and get to live somewhere I had never been before.”
During her first season at Yale, Middough scored the game-winning goal against Bryant University. Her role on the team only grew from there, and by the end of her second season with the Elis, the 5-foot-6 forward led the team in both goals and points, recording nine and 19, respectively. She was named Second Team All-Ivy twice, and also continued improving on her career highs during her third year.
Finishing with 41 career goals and 90 career points, Middough led Yale in both categories for three of her four years as a Bulldog. At the close of her final season with Yale, Middough unanimously earned a spot on the First Team All-Ivy roster after leading the conference with 18 goals and 40 points. Her talents extended far past even those of her fellow Ivy League players. The New Jersey native averaged 1.06 goals per game during her senior year, ranking her fourth nationally while her 2.35 assists per game landed her just outside the nation’s top-10 list at 11th.
While her accomplishments on the field speak for themselves, Middough was also a leader in a multitude of other ways. Notably, her former teammates say that she helped transform Yale’s field hockey program into a culture of high expectations for success.
“I knew right away that was going to be one of the strongest leaders this team has ever seen,” captain and back Jackie Kisa ’19 said. “She was quiet but in such a way that made you truly listen when she had something to say. She was a force to be reckoned with, and to us as her teammates, she inspired us to be the best that we could be. … She was a firestarter for the entire culture change that we have experienced as a program, and for that, we are forever grateful.”
Stuper, who just entered her 14th season as head coach for the Elis, also recognized Middough’s exceptional talent and played a role in helping the forward continue her field hockey career, encouraging her to explore options for post-collegiate play. While Stuper offered support to Middough, it was midfielder Holly Jackson ’20 who ultimately helped connect Middough to the team.
Jackson, who started all 17 games as a sophomore and will likely be a key team contributor as a junior, played for the Clifton Robinsons during high school and gave her Yale teammate the number of the squad’s head coach to contact over the summer. Now an upper-level student herself, Jackson was just one of many Bulldogs who benefitted from Middough’s leadership in her early years at Yale.
“Carol wasn’t just a great player, she was also a great teammate,” forward Brooke Reese ’19 said. “When you play with a teammate that works so hard and leaves everything out on the field, that attitude soon becomes the standard for the team, not the attitude of one person.”
Middough said the team also has left a mark on her. She credited her experience playing field hockey at Yale with teaching her how to persevere through difficult situations and instilling in her a drive to succeed, whether in a game or in real life. She said she will bring the tenacity she learned at Yale to her professional career.
The Yale field hockey team hosts Hofstra this Friday at 4 p.m.
Jane Miller | firstname.lastname@example.org