The Castleton State field hockey team started the season off winning two of its first three games. The team came out of the gate with high expectations after being picked to win the NAC in a preseason poll, and so far have lived up to them.
The season opener at Skidmore ended in a disappointing 7-2 loss against the 8thranked Thoroughbreds. Castleton fell behind 2-0 by halftime and was just not able to recover giving up 5 more goals in the second half. Rachel Preusser and Blake Wardwell scored for Castleton, while helping Skidmore get their victory was Kelly Blackhurst with three, Sam Skott with two, and Hilary Cranston and Dani DeGregory each with one. Freshman goalie Heather Ploof had 11 saves on the day, while Skidmore’s Haley McDougal had seven saves for her team.
“Opening up at Skidmore was a challenge for us, but we learned from it and have since moved on,” said Castleton’s head coach Tammy Landon.
The Spartans rebounded at their home opener with a strong 3-1 win against the University of New England. Castleton scored first in the 11thminute of the game on an own goal by UNE caused by intense Castleton pressure in the offensive zone.
UNE’s Casey Clark fought back with an unassisted goal right before halftime as time expired. The Spartans came out with great intensity in the second half and scored two goals within a minute span. Rachel Preusser and Kealy Chipman scored back-to-back to give Castleton a 3-1 lead. This lead was maintained throughout the rest of the second half, and gave the Spartans their first win of the season. In net for the Spartans was Jessica Galatioto making five saves, while UNE’s Kaitlyn Warren made 13.
The third game of the Castleton season resulted in a truly decisive 7-2 victory versus the Mount Holyoke Lyons. Castleton jumped out to a 6-0 lead only 12 minutes into play.
“We started off the game really strong and we played as a team,” said Blake Wardwell. Wardwell scored three of the six first half goals in an impressive individual offensive performance. Also contributing to the Spartans victory was Rachel Preusser who had two unassisted goals as well as assisting one of Wardwells, Kristy Pinkham had the third goal assisted by teammate Kealy Chipman who had two assists and one goal assisted by classmate Mercedes Maltbie.
“Our team just really exploded offensively and worked together to earn the win on the road,” said Landon.
The Lyons Kristen Kilburn was finally able to score 18 minutes in, putting her team on the board but by that time the game was already well in hand. Her teammate Angelica Pascual also contributed a goal, but it just wasn’t enough.
In net for the Spartans was Galatioto, who made ten saves on the day. Mount Holyoke’s time was split between Anne O’Byrne and Emma Ross who each made three saves.
“We are going to continue to work hard, and one season goal of ours is to compete with and beat some opponents we lost to last season,” said Landon.
Castleton looks to build on their two recent victories on Sunday September 16that home against Plymouth State at 2 p.m.