After starting 2-4 in its first six road games, the Spartan field hockey team found redemption against Simmons College. The formula for the dominating victory was outshooting Simmons 28-4 and executing the shots being taken. Carolyn Griggs took advantage of an offensive opportunity one minute into game play by striking a goal past the Simmons defense. Kayla Blank took her turn, putting a goal of her own in the net. Blank and Griggs continued the scoring party, each putting another one away before halftime. The second half proved to be no different, as Blank and Griggs both reached a hat trick.
Sarah Flore was in playmaker fashion against Simmons, assisting on three goals during the day. Megan Konowich was a defensive stand out, holding off the Simmons offensive attack. Konowich and Blank earned co-player of the game honors from coach Tammy Landon. The win lifted the Spartans to a 3-1 conference record and marked a hard-to-achieve milestone for the storming Castleton defense. The Spartan defensive core let in its first corner strike since the season opener, a feat usually hard to obtain.
“It shows our defense has been on its game, allowing few offensive pushes,” Heather Brock said. “Corners are very demanding for defenders, and our defense has done a great job keeping the ball out of the net.”
Earlier in the season, the Spartans began to falter when Nichols College snuck an overtime goal by Trisha Clark, who posted six second-half saves. Nichols beat the Spartans 3-2. The momentum would yet again be stripped away from the Spartans when Union College repeatedly tested Castleton’s defensive play. Despite nine first-half saves and spectacular defense and midfield performances, the Spartans were unable to withstand the pressure Union brought offensively, and they fell with a score of 2-1.
In a game against Husson University, where the Spartan defense played just as consistently as it has proven to be game in and game out, the Spartan offense delivered a storm of shots. Husson found itself being outshot 17-6 at the end of the game, and fell victim to a pair of goals scored by Griggs. Castleton broke the two game losing streak and picked up its second conference win.
“Our defense has an amazing bond; we talk to each other on the field,” said defender Trish Watson. “We read each other. We work well as a team. The defense will get the ball out of the circle and up to the midfielders. The midfielders will move the ball up to the forwards, and they get their shots on goal.”
St. Joseph’s College was anything but humble to Castleton as it surged past the defense and put away four second-half goals. Just when things were going right for Castleton, a two-goal lead going into halftime, the Spartans watched it slowly slip through their fingers. The first-half goals by Blank and Griggs were not enough to keep the lead, and Castleton suffered its first and only conference loss thus far.
Castleton travels to Skidmore College to round out its sixth game away from campus. The Spartans will return home and continue conference play when they host Thomas College.
“The losses were disappointing, but we learn from them,” said midfielder Molly Fraher. “To play strong against a team like Skidmore will be interesting; we played them in a scrimmage before the season, so we will see the improvement we have made.