The Spartans have felt the glory, but they’ve also suffered heartbreak. Conference play is never easy, and nothing is guaranteed when a championship is at stake.Nothing was more shocking than the men’s soccer team losing the NAC semifinal game against Lyndon State. I never thought Lyndon would take down Castleton in conference play, let alone in the conference tournament. The 3-1 loss was the Spartans’ first conference loss of the season, and it couldn’t have come at a worse time. It was a heartbreaking way to go out.
The field hockey team endured heartbreak during the conference tournament as well. An overtime loss against St. Joseph’s meant no championship appearance for the Spartans. I never anticipated a championship out of this team, but I still thought there was a way to at least sneak into the title game. Either way, title game or no title game, this Spartans team had a lot of talent.
I’ll admit, even though I predicted the women’s soccer team to take home the NAC title I knew it wouldn’t be easy having to beat Husson. The last time the Spartans faced their conference foes the game ended in a 0-0 tie. I stopped getting so nervous when I thought about Courtney Chadburn, Hilary Cooke, and Megan Blongy going against any defenders in the NAC. It wasn’t a surprise to me that this team was going to win the NAC championship, but I was a little nervous about Husson.
The football team has been nothing but impressive this year and they didn’t go out against Norwich without being just that. Shane Brozowski threw for over 400 yards and a few touchdowns, but when it came down to it the Cadets won the matchup. It was heartbreaking to see because of how well the Spartans performed this season within the conference, but also because Castleton was in the drivers seat to win against Norwich. Sometimes the hard-working underdogs don’t always get the win, but the Spartans definitely gained the respect from anyone who hadn’t already acknowledged how far they’ve come since their inaugural game last fall.
This fall taught me three important things about Castleton athletics. Number one, never count the Spartans out of any fight. If there’s an inch to be gained Castleton will always find a way to take that inch. Number two, if something’s too good to be true, it probably is. The men’s soccer team was undefeated in the NAC during the regular season, and then Lyndon had to come and crash our party. And finally, number three, when first place is up for grabs never settle for second.
The women’s soccer team remembered the feeling of having the NAC title taken from them last fall.
Being in a championship game and losing is a tough pill to swallow, but to come back the following season and win the NAC.
The fall sports were filled with a lot of highlights, and certainly raised the bar for Castleton athletics the rest of this year.