Spring sports have high hopes for season

As the skiers, hockey and basketball players put away their equipment for another year, other athletes are dusting off their rackets, sticks and gloves. Here’s a look at the Spartan’s 2006 men’s tennis, women’s lacrosse and softball squads.Men’s tennis
After struggling throughout last season, coach Bruce Moreton’s team looks to improve in 2006. In his sixth year at Castleton, Moreton looks to claim the North Atlantic Conference championship that eluded them in 2005, after having won it the previous year.

“Without question, this is the most solid team I have had at Castleton,” Moreton said. “The players are pushing each other for starting positions and attitudes are excellent.”

Currently, the squad’s number one player, Justin Davis, has an ankle injury, but Moreton is hopeful that he’ll be able to compete in the home season opener on Saturday against Thomas College. Last year, Thomas won the NAC after defeating the Spartans in the semi-final match-up and looks to be the toughest opponent once again.

“A won/loss record is not as important to me as how the team improves and how we do in the end-of-season tournament,” Moreton said.

Moreton leads a mix of upperclassmen and newcomers, with this year’s seniors motivating the younger players. With their eyes set on the NAC tournament at the end of April, Moreton said his team is looking to gain a lot of experience and to improve throughout the year.

Coach: Bruce Moreton

Year’s coached: 6th year

Last year’s record: 0-10

Top returnees: Justin Davis (Sr.), Andy McQuerry (So.), Ira Morgan (Sr.), Adam White (Sr.), Dustin Smith (So.)

Top newcomers: Robbie Gray (Fr.), Jessee Maranda (Fr.), Jamie Cook (Jr.), Jason Gramling (Fr.), Jeremy Henderson (So.), Ted Panasci (Fr.), Eddie Kolnaski (Fr.)

Women’s lacrosse
In her first year at Castleton, coach Alison Struzziero has set a conservative goal of four wins for her team.

“I’m very positive. I anticipate more wins,” Struzziero said.

The young team, with 10 freshmen and sophomores, will face a tough field that includes Western New England College, which is going for its third straight New England Women’s Lacrosse Alliance championship. Returning this year to help the Spartans are senior Kate Coniglio, sophomore Nicole Bouchard and 2005 All-NEWLA second team member, junior Bailey Emilo.

“All are really excited,” Struzziero said. “Everyone has a positive attitude toward the team and season. There is great comradery.”

The lady Spartans open the season today at the University of New England.

Coach: Alison Struzziero

Year’s coached: 1st year

Last year’s record: 2-4 (NEWLA), 3-8 (overall)

Top returnees: Bailey Emilo (Jr., attack), Kate Coniglio (Sr., defense), Nicole Bouchard (So., attack)

Top newcomers: Katelyn Greene (Fr., attack), Francesca Mazzola (So., goalie), Erin Barry (So., midfield)

After losing five seniors, coach Meghan Brown enters her first year with a relatively young team. The squad has only five returnees that Brown said are all key.

“We’re a young team, but we don’t play that way,” Brown said. “The returnees want to see the team win and go back to being a powerhouse. The freshmen have come in and are willing to do anything asked.”

In 2005, Elms College and U. Maine-Farmington finished 1-2 respectively in NAC and look to be the top competition again. In a pre-season poll released by NAC, the Spartans were ranked sixth out of 13.

“We’re looking to be competitive. We’re gaining more confidence,” Brown said. “I think we’re going to surprise some teams.”

Brown’s squad kicks off its season at Green Mountain College on March 28.

Coach: Meghan Brown

Year’s coached: 1st year

Last year’s record: 9-3 (NAC), 22-9 (overall)

Top returnees: Jennifer Gadouas (Jr., third base), Angie Carpenter (So., pitcher)

Top newcomers: Anita Dixon (Fr., shortstop), Alison Lamay (So., first base)

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