It was David verses Goliath. Nationally ninth ranked Cortland hosting little Castleton State College. The swagger from winning the North Atlantic Conference title game had stuck with the Spartans, helping them almost knock the Red Dragons out of tournament play. But unfortunately the ball did not roll Castleton’s way, and Goliath conquered this matchup. “It was exciting, but heartbreaking,” began Senior Brooke Towslee. “It was exciting making it that far, and heartbreaking losing the way we did and walking off the field. It was really bittersweet.”
After the Red Dragons scored, Spartan goaltender, Trisha Clark, came up with some big saves to keep Castleton close on the scoreboard. The heavily underrated Castleton offense punched Goliath back in the mouth, scoring with only 8 seconds left in the half. The Spartans went into halftime deadlocked the Red Dragons at one goal each.
With a strong show defensively, and consistency from Clark in the cage, Castleton held off strong rushes from Cortland.
The Red Dragons would eventually score what would become the game winning goal, with 11 minutes left in the game, though.
Clark stopped 23 shots in net, a Castleton State College record.
“I really believed we were going to beat them,” Senior Trish Watson said. “At the end of the first half we started to pick up our play.”
Junior Molly Fraher shared the same view as Watson.
“We definitely could have gone further,” said Fraher, talking about the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division III Tournament. Adding, “This whole year was a great learning process. I’m looking forward to next year, but the seniors leaving will be greatly missed, that’s for sure.”
Castleton outscored its opponents 70-45 this season, averaging three goals a game. The Spartans, more impressively, treated home fans to a 10-1 record. This season was filled with highs, like a 5-1 conference record and a 7-1 start to the season. Next fall the Spartans will swing things off again, in hopes of defending their NAC title.