Northfield, New Hampshire is known for its stunning bodies of water, picturesque trees and mountains to hike.
But with the immediate impact she’s had in such a short period of time, freshman dual-sport athlete Kaitlin Bardellini may soon join that list.
For someone who has been playing the sport of field hockey for only seven years, Bardellini didn’t expect the positive effect she would bring to her already strong team when she arrived in August for preseason camp.
“For a freshman, it’s a lot. Coming into the season, I didn’t even know if I was going to get playing time as a freshman or where I’d be position wise,” Bardellini said.
Bardellini’s prose and confidence has gained the respect of her teammates.
“She is a natural-born leader on and off the field,” said senior goalie Tashia Pashby-Rockwell. “As a teammate, I admire her willingness to always ask questions and take constructive criticism well.”
The forward donning the number one jersey has been a spark of offensive production and a key reason the Spartans are 7-5 overall and 5-2 in the Little East Conference records; the best for all of the Castleton fall sport teams. Bardellini’s 30 points, 12 goals and six assists all lead the Spartans this season, including two three-goal games against Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Framingham State University.
In every game the Spartans recorded a goal this season, Bardellini has scored a goal or an assist in all but one.
“Coming into the season, I knew I was going to be on a good field hockey team, and I knew that I had to work really hard,” Bardellini said. “There’s probably nothing that I’d want to change right now because everything seems to be going well.”
Junior defenseman Anna Ploof has an interesting view of the field, as she gets to watch Bardellini and the offense dissect an opponent.
“When Kaitlin gets the ball, I know she will do anything in her power to get a shot off or cause a foul to our advantage,” Ploof said.
Bardellini is determined to right the wrong of last season, a season she wasn’t even a team member. All eyes are on the Owls of Keene State College.
“I think our biggest challenge will be Keene. We lost to them 3-0 a few weeks ago, and I think we have to keep working hard at practice, getting better and we’ll play a better game against them and hopefully win,” Bardellini said.
The Spartans recently lost their first contest in five games on Saturday in a 4-1 defeat on homecoming weekend at Dave Wolk Stadium to the Colonials of Western Connecticut State University. Bardellini scored the lone goal for Castleton in the third period.
Majoring in social work, being a member of the ROTC program at Castleton and playing both field and ice hockey for the Spartans, Bardellini has a hefty workload, but does it all with a smile on her face. She is focused on a goal she made in sixth grade that would honor the legacies of her grandfather, cousins and uncles who have military experience.
“A lifelong goal is to be the first officer in my family,” Bardellini said. “Sixth grade I said ‘mom, I wanna go into the military!’, and she was like, ‘what? You’re crazy!’ And it’s just stuck ever since.”
The field hockey team returns to action Tuesday for a conference matchup at Worcester State University.