For four years in a row the Castleton State College women’s soccer team has been unable to attain its primary goal of winning the North Atlantic Conference championship. This year, though, it feels like the team can do anything it wants without much effort. “We are playing really well together,” junior Maria Arnot said. “Our team chemistry is definitely better than it has been for the past three years.”
Junior Kelly Tetreault agreed.
“The team chemistry this year is really good, and I think that is the reason that our team is doing well,” she said.
With its 2-1 victory over Fitchburg State on Oct. 21, the team finished its regular-season campaign with an impressive 14-2-1 record. They also finished 6-0-1 in NAC play. The only tie of the season came against Husson, the team that beat them in the NAC finals last season.
The Spartans, who earned the top seed in the NAC and a first-round bye, will now have to wait until Oct. 31 before playing in the semifinal game. The team is hopeful that the bye won’t result in it losing some of its regular-season luster.
“It won’t be a problem as long as we have a good week of practices,” Arnot said. “We just have to stay pumped up and get ready for whoever we are going to play.”
Junior Kelly Gerken also said that the break might be beneficial for the team.
“We have a couple injuries that definitely need the rest, and it’s a good amount of time to prepare for Sunday’s game,” she said.
With an offense that has so many weapons, it’s difficult to worry about rust being a factor in the Spartans’ postseason run.
This season the Spartans have three players with double-digit numbers for goals scored. The group is currently led by junior Courtney Chadburn. Chadburn reached the 20-goal mark when she scored two against Fitchburg State. Hilary Cooke has registered 15 goals in her first year with the team, and Megan Blongy has added 12 scores. The team also has eight other players that have scored at least one goal so far.
And if the offense does happen to fail the team in the clutch, the defense has showed that it can keep them in the game against good teams in the NAC. In fact, the Spartans have only allowed one goal to be scored against them during NAC play this season. That goal came in 4-1 win over Maine Maritime on Oct. 16.
“I think that both the offense and defense are equally important to the success of our team,” Tetreault said. “That being said, if our offense is struggling, you can count on our defense to support them and vice versa.”
With the season that the Spartans have put together, the players know that expectations for them are as high as ever. The players, though, feel that they will be able to deliver no matter what team they have to play.
“I don’t want to jinx us on this one, but all season long our goal has been to win the NAC,” Tetreault said. “And in my opinion nothing is going to stop us from reaching our goal.”
Gerken agreed with her teammate, adding that if the team has to go through Husson to win the NAC, it will an even better feeling.
“If it happens to be Husson, it’s going to be an all out battle for the revenge of last year’s final game,” she said.