Having only a 2-5 overall record, the Spartan field hockey team started off its conference play with a 6-2 victory against New England College, making them 1-0 in the Northern Atlantic Conference.
“It’s pivotal that we’re starting off the conference this way,” said coach Tammy Landon. “We know we can play against these teams, and it’s important to send that message to other conference teams.”
Prior to taking the victory, the Spartans suffered a tough loss at Keene State 6-0. The Spartans were outshot 24-5 in the game, but played a strong defensive second half. Castleton goalkeeper Bridget Dusha saw several shots, but only came out with ten saves in the losing effort.
“They’re (Keene) a top program,” said Landon, “and they had two great corner goals. It would have been nice to score, but it was a faster level of play.”
The Spartans made a great two-game comeback, by defeating conference opponents New England College and Colby-Sawyer.
Contributing with a hat trick against NEC was sophomore Rachel Preusser, getting her three goals in just the first half of the game. Also adding goals for the Spartans was Stephanie Paproski, Blake Wardwell and Stephanie Bardell.
The Spartans started off early when Preusser, assisted by junior Caitlin Briggs, scored just 33 seconds into the game. However, NEC came back shortly thereafter in the third minute when NEC’s Jennifer Adams scored on a breakaway. Castleton then came back with three goals, two of which finished of Preusser’s hat trick.
Later in the game, Wardwell netted a penalty stroke for the Spartans, and Paproski finished it off by hitting in a shot assisted by Bardell. This victory led the Spartans to their 1-0 conference record.
The Spartans also took down opponents Colby-Sawyer this weekend, defeating them by a high-score of 9-2. This was also a conference game, as Colby-Sawyer is new to the NAC conference this season.
Recording her second straight hat trick was Preusser as she was at it again. Only 30 seconds later, junior Mercedes Maltbie scored her first goal of the season, giving the Spartans a 3-0 lead.
In the first 30 minutes of play, the Spartans shutout Colby-Sawyer, eventually outshooting them 31-1.
In the second half, Preusser scored back-to-back goals. Also contributing was Paproski, Cory Healy, Kealy Chipman with two, and Blake Wardwell.
“It was a great way to start off the conference,” said Landon. “We really worked great together, and finished it. We’re passing, trusting, coming together and scoring.”
The Spartans host are away for their third conference game at Lasell College on the first of October.