The Castleton State College women’s lacrosse team saw its most successful season in program history come to an end this past Mother’s Day. The Spartans’ 16-8 loss came from a familiar foe, Western New England College.Last season WNEC beat Castleton 22-4 in the Eastern College Athletic Conference tournament to eliminate the Spartans. Castleton hoped for revenge this year in the ECAC championship game, which the Spartans hosted.
The road to the ECAC championship was paved with an inaugural North Atlantic Conference Championship, another New England Women’s Lacrosse Alliance heartbreak, and a stunning upset of Emerson College on the road during ECAC play.
“I’m just extremely proud,” said Spartan coach Tammy Landon, now in her third season. “We continued to battle to the last day of the season. Playing today was fantastic for our program.”
Castleton sophomore Marie VanDerKar had nothing but good things to say about her team as well.
“It was a hell of a season,” said VanDerKar, hugging a tearful teammate. “We will never have a team like this again.”
In Saturday’s victory over Emerson, the Spartans shot 61 precent in their 22-15 victory. Nicole Adams found the back of the net six times, and she dished out three assists for a game-high nine points.
Adams’ play in the Emerson game caused WNEC to defend her heavily on Sunday, giving room for numerous other Spartans to step up their play.
The ECAC championship was back and forth for the first five minutes of play, with a 2-2 tie on goals coming from VanDerKar and Stephanie Pearce. WNEC began to cut up the Spartans’ zone defense, and WNEC went on to an eight-goal run, which included five goals from Michelle Thompson, to lead Castleton 10-2. Thompson finished her day with six goals to lead all scorers.
Castleton freshman Stephanie Paproski added two quick goals in the final minute of the first half, and WNEC’s Lindsey Fenton scored with four seconds to go, bringing the game to an 11-4 advantage for WNEC at halftime.
The Spartans battled back in the second half, narrowing the game to 15-7 at one point, before ultimately falling to WNEC yet again.
The two games in two days may have taken their toll on the Spartans.
“We were drained. We didn’t get back until 1:00 [Sunday morning]. Everyone’s legs were just shot,” said VanDerKar. “WNEC came out ready to play.”
Although WNEC finished as ECAC champions, Landon was proud of her team’s play.
“It was exciting to host,” Landon said with a smile. “[WNEC] is a very strong program and we are showing that we can compete with strong programs.