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Field hockey teams opens Spartan Stadium – but loses

If you expected a huge crowd, a ribbon cutting ceremony and hundreds of cheers from Spartan fans witnessing history, the inaugural game at Spartan Stadium may have disappointed. The Sept. 1 game had it all: high humidity, beating sun, a dismal crowd, and a 6-0 loss to ECAC champs Kean University.

Unlike Kean, who only lost one key player to graduation, the Castleton field hockey team lost a painful seven starters from their line-up, including All-Conference First Team players Carolyn Griggs, Kayla Blank, and Tricia Watson. They did, however return standout seniors Marie Amaral, Heather Brock, Jenna Charbonneau, Molly Fraher, and Meghan Konowich.

The Spartans trailed quickly, with Kean’s ECAC All-Star Brittany Gibbs scoring within 10 minutes of the start. By halftime, the Spartans found themselves at a 3-0 deficit.

The second half didn’t get much better for the Lady Spartans as Gibbs and teammate Lauren Kusik scored and Alyson Guerriero capped the Cougars scoring run with the team’s sixth and final goal. The Spartan’s closest attempt was when Marie Amaral fired a shot, only to have it be miraculously saved by Kean goalie Lauren Dobbs, who had 15 saves by the end. Siobhan Whittemore had seven saves in the first half and then handed the reigns over to Bridget Dusha, who had three saves in the last half of action.

Despite the score, senior Meghan Konowich was nothing less than pumped about being the inaugural game at Spartan Stadium.

“It was really exciting! We just wanted to make it fun for our fans. It was an honor,” Konowich said with a smile.

Freshman Kealy Chipman agreed.

“We are making history. I am glad I could be a part of this,” Chipman said.

When asked if the switch from grass to artificial turf had anything to do with the outcome, Chipman was quick to respond.

“Absolutely not, Kean did! Kean is a great team and we learned a lot from playing them. It had nothing to do with the turf. I actually thought we played very well on it today,” she said.

The Lady Spartans fell to Keene State College 4-0 two days later and again to the University of New England on Saturday, by a score of 4-2. After the Keene State loss, the second straight to open the season, head coach Tammy Landon remained upbeat.

“We lost our first two games last year too, and we won the conference championship. They (Kean and Keene State) are two top programs that we have yet to have a win over. We are very much on track to having a great season, even though we are of to a 0-2 start,” Landon said optimistically.

The Spartans look to get into the win column today on the road against Plymouth State. The team doesn’t return to Spartan Stadium until Sept. 26 against Rivier College.