By Jayson Mullen
The Castleton Field Hockey team’s historic season came to an end on Saturday Nov. 3 when the Spartans lost a tough championship game against Keene State. The Spartans were faced with the task of dethroning the Keene State Owls, who had won five straight championships heading into the matchup.
“They’re the team to beat, and I think our styles really match up well with each other,” Coach Kemp said.
The two teams had one previous meeting during the regular season where the Spartans won in double overtime 5-4.
It was a rainy day at Dave Wolk Stadium. In a very hard fought first half, the Owls scored first. The Spartans responded five minutes later when senior midfielder Gabrielle Ryan answered with a score of her own. The first half ended 1-1.
The second half was equally as hard fought as the first, but it was the Owls who managed to take the lead with a goal in the later stages of the game.
“We have to give credit to Keene State for being a really good team,” Kemp said.
The Spartans could not find the back of the net in the second half and ultimately lost to the Owls who, as a result, won their sixth straight LEC championship.
“It’s unfortunate that the game ended the way it did but we tried our best and everyone gave what they had,” sophomore midfielder Gabriella Hunt said.
The Castleton field hockey team was predicted to finish eleventh in the LEC Preseason Coach’s Poll. First year coach Christine Kemp and her coaching staff brought the best out of this team and helped elevate them to the number-one seed in the LEC tournament.
The Spartans represented the University well with their LEC honors. Kemp was named LEC Coach of the Year. Senior forward Sarah Wells, Junior defender Ellie Gevry, and Sophomore midfielder Gabriella Hunt were all named to the LEC All-Conference First Team, while Sophomore forward Loretta Blakeney was recognized on the Honorable Mention list.
“It’s such an honor being named LEC First Team All-Conference.” Hunt said. “I was really excited.”
Hunt finished the season with thirteen goals and eleven assists. She was one of the key players in the Spartans’ historic season, which included a record setting eleven-game win-streak.
The field hockey team made it further into the playoffs than any other sports team on campus this year.
“It was something that everyone kind of embraced and was really happy about…the future for the school being in the Little East is gonna be bright” Kemp said.
Kemp and her coaching staff led the Spartans to a 15-5 record and a Conference record of 11-1, and shem along with the rest of her coaching staff, are already looking forward to the future.
“The returning girls know how it feels to lose a championship, and I think that is going to be a motivating factor…to try to come out on top,” Kemp said.