The Castleton field hockey team started off the week with an intense battle for first place in the North Atlantic Conference. A strong Husson side gave the Spartan ladies the sort of tough competition that they have rarely seen this season.
The game started with Castleton storming out to a 3-1 lead with goals by Kealy Chipman, Blake Wardwell and Rachel Preusser. The Spartans cooled off quickly and gave up two quick Eagle goals right before halftime to tie the score and give Husson the momentum going into halftime.
Action was slow with limited scoring opportunities for both sides as the second half began, as Husson finally broke through and took the lead scoring a goal in the 46thminute and then another five minutes later to push the score to 5-3. Husson then scored their fifth unanswered goal in the 52ndminute to create a formidable gap between the two teams.
Castleton finally broke their scoring drought with a Preusser goal in the 58thminute. Castleton furiously tried to catch up in the final minutes, peppering the net with shots, including a last second score by Wardwell. This effort proved to be too little too late and Castleton fell to the Eagles 6-5.
The Spartans then traveled to Rensselaer’s Harkness Fieldfor their last game of the regular season hoping to finish strong before playoff action. Unfortunately RPI came out a little too strong for the Spartans, scoring two first half goals, and the Spartans just could not rebound losing 2-1.
The Engineers scored their first goal as Tori Elliot scored off a rebound with 10:41 gone in the first half. Alissa Peterson scored 15 minutes later with a long-range cannon shot off of a penalty corner.
RPI had dominated going into halftime, holding a 9-1 lead in shots and a 6-2 advantage in corners.
Castleton refused to quit and came out of half battling. Rachel Preusser scored on a beautiful give and go play to bring the Spartans within one goal. However Castleton was unable to get through the brick wall that was the goalie for RPI and dropped their second game in a row by a score of 2-1.
Kealy Chipman observed that “we just came out too slow and couldn’t overcome it. We played well in the second half so hopefully we can build on that going in to the playoffs.”
Next, No. 2 Castleton team with a chip on their shoulder took on No. 7 Thomas and came away with a decisive victory sending a statement to the rest of the conference. Castleton out-shot Thomas 42-2, and came away with a 5-1 win.
The game started off with three Castleton goals in the first 15 minutes by key players Wardwell, Preusser and Chipman. Mercedes Maltbie then added her stamp on the game with a goal off a penalty corner with no time remaining in the half.
The second half was a story of stifling defense and a relentless offensive attack for the Spartans. Castleton held Thomas to 0 shots while producing 15 of their own.
Chipman netted her second goal of the game, and the final tally for the Spartans off a cross from Maltbie in the 46thminute.
Coach Landon after the game remarked “It was really good to see our girls respond coming off two tough losses. I really liked our focus and intensity.”
The Spartans return to action on Oct. 31 in the NAC Semifinals when they will face the University of Maine at Farmington.