Although the weather isn’t heating up quite yet, that hasn’t stopped the heat of the Castleton men’s lacrosse team. The preseason coaches’ poll voted the Spartans to be NAC Division III Champions again for the upcoming 2014 season.
Last year the Spartans played New England College for the championship and won 17-5.
“It’s nice that our league coaches see us as the team to beat. With that said we are a team with 17 new players so we don’t get too excited about preseason poll. We just want to play our best by the time our post season rolls around,” Coach Bo McDougal said.
Sophomore Graeme Pike said expectations are held high because of last season’s success.
“We are a completely different team this year. We have more newcomers than returners. We expect way more out of ourselves this year. We have a lot of talent this year and we’re looking forward to big things,” Pike said.
The Spartans lost 14 players total- nine were seniors.
“Our returners knew that we would be bringing in a large group of new guys this year and that we would be relying on many to contribute early. Because of that the guys have really meshed together nicely. They spent break up here together and became a very close group of friends,” McDougal said.
Last year the team created the idea of “it’s not about me” (INAM) and the players have really stepped forward and shown the team effort in preseason.
To start this season off the Spartans traveled to Union New Jersey on Feb. 22 against Kean where they fell 11-5.
Seniors Alex Green and Will Stuhler had two goals apiece while junior Alex Denny added one.
Starting in the net for Castleton was sophomore Peter Latulippe who made seven saves and gave up four goals. Junior Sam Polas ended in the goal but it wasn’t enough for the Spartans as Kean capitalized off turnovers.
Though the game wasn’t a success, Freshman Austin Titus is pretty psyched for the rest of the season.
“I was more than excited to be a part of the team this year. We definitely have the potential to be a very successful team again, we just have to take it one game at a time,” freshman Austin Titus said.
The Spartans came back on March 8 where they captured a win against SUNY Canton for their home opener.
After the 11-3 win, Castleton stands 1-1 on the season.
The Kangaroos just couldn’t keep up as Spartans offense dominated-outscoring their opponent 47-34.
Castleton had two players who earned a hat trick, including freshman Sean Paradis and Senior Alex Green.
In the goal for the Spartans was Latulippe who took the win with an impressive 13 saves.
As the season progresses there are high hopes for success.
“We see NAC championship as an expectation this year. Our goals are set on advancing in the NCAA’s. We’re looking to take the next step as a program,” Pike said.
Castleton will be back on the turf for another home game on Tuesday night against Williams College.