The University of New England rolled into Castleton as rain drops began to splash down onto the field Saturday. The Spartan field hockey offense stayed one pass ahead of its opposition and created scoring opportunities by taking smart shots en route to a 5-4 win. Trish Fellows was an artist with the crossing pass, connecting with Kayla Blank twice in the first half. Molly Fraher snuck through the traffic in front of the net and buried Castleton’s fourth goal.
The Castleton defense left few windows for the opposing offense by intercepting passes through the middle and playing tight defense. Heather Brock and Trish Watson had radar throughout the game, letting few passes get through their guard. Keeper Trisha Clark came through when the saves mattered most. With Patrick Roy style kick saves, Clark denied any likely first half comeback campaign, sending the Spartans into halftime with 5-2 lead.
“We’re starting to work together more and starting to see last year’s team step back out onto the field,” said Fraher.
The second half was filled with missed opportunities and the ball bouncing the other way, though. Despite a well played game on defense, Castleton found itself behind the surge of a comeback.
The University of New England stormed Clark twice more in the last 16 minutes of play. The shots came pouring in, but again, Clark came up big with more kick saves to solidify victory for the Spartans.
Blank led scorers with two goals. Fellows scored what would become the game winning goal and assisted on two. Fraher and Sarah Flore added goals of their own. Flore was named the player of the game for her outstanding play throughout the game.
“We wanted to put one in and put the game away,” said assistant coach Meaghan Brown. “We’re going to concentrate on cleaning the little things up, working on getting our goals against down and goals for up.”
Earlier in the week, the Spartans began the season by losing their opening game in heartbreaking fashion against Kean University, falling one goal short of a successful comeback.
The Spartans earned their first victory the following game against Ramapo College, when Fellows scored the game-winning goal in double overtime.
Castleton tried to carry momentum into its home opener versus Keene State, but the Spartans’ comeback was squashed as Keene State pulled their lead back to two goals after managing to sneak the ball by Clark one last time.
The Spartans will host Plymouth State on Wednesday, September 10 at 4:00 p.m. Castleton beat Plymouth last year 2-1 with a late deflection goal.