On its schedule, Castleton is set to host the North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) Championship on Saturday, May 7 and Sunday, May 8. Unfortunately, the Spartans will have to watch Husson University and Penn State Berks from the bleachers as both squads will play for an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament and the right to be called NEAC champions this weekend.The Eagles won their way into the NEAC Championship, dispatching Castleton twice in the double-elimination tournament with a 10-4 win on Saturday, April 30 and a 3-1 victory on Sunday, May 1. Husson also won its opening round game against the University of Maine-Farmington, 9-3, on Saturday.
The Spartans took two games from Thomas College, 4-1 and 4-3, in the opening rounds of the double-elimination format to square off against Husson in the NEAC East Division Championship before falling to the Eagles.
“We had some tough losses at Husson,” said Castleton head coach Ted Shipley. “We didn’t play as well as we would have liked to. It will be weird to have the championship game at our field and not be in it.”
Shipley added to his post game comments.
“We knew the situation ahead of time and gave it our best shot. A couple of breaks and things could have been different for sure,” said Shipley. “All [of the] games were close, even the 10-4 game was 5-4 going into the eighth.”
Castleton’s season came to a close in terms of having a chance to play in the NCAA Division III Tournament, but the Spartans have a doubleheader remaining on its schedule against SUNY-Canton on Thursday.
The twinbill will give Shipley a chance to project into the future. A future that looks bright considering Castleton made it to the NCAA’s last season while this spring the Spartans were selected in a preseason coaches poll to win the NEAC East, falling just short.
“We will use one of those games to see into the future,” said Shipley about the doubleheader against SUNY-Canton. “Overall, we had another solid season. We had a lot of new guys and following last year’s team wasn’t going to be easy.”
“This year’s squad tied for first in the conference, got to the championship game of the conference tournament and won 20 games,” said Shipley. “We always have high expectations, so it feels like we didn’t do as well, but with all the injuries we had and all the new guys we had, it was a good year.