A freshmen takeover

The Castleton State College women’s soccer team was 7-1-1 in the North Atlantic Conference going into Saturday’s quarterfinal game against Maine Maritime, which they won handily at 4-0.
With a record like that, most would assume that their team was stacked with returners, but believe it or not, this has been a rebuilding year.
Although they lost four powerful seniors last year, and will be losing three more at the end of this season, the graduating class of 2017 will be a force to be reckoned with. Together the 15 freshmen on the team have tallied 35 out of the 56 team goals. From the 5-foot-tall Paige Howk to 5’8 Marissa Benson, every freshman has contributed to the Sparty wins.
“We knew we had a lot of good kids on our radar, and we got them,” said head coach Chris “Chappy” Chapdelaine, gushing over his current freshman class.
In the past five years, women’s soccer has not only competed in five conference championships, but they have won three of them, and are currently on the hunt to bring home the title again. With a track record like that, it is nearly impossible to not sell Castleton State College and the women’s soccer program to potential recruits.
“We are trying to build a program. Our goal is to not only win championships, but to also develop the program and players,” said Chapdelaine.
Freshman Dominique Valancius is one of those well-developed players.  On top of starting every game, Valancius is currently ranked second in the conference in goals. Her stats are filled with double digits as she helps the Spartans on their way to a winning season.
Although it has been a building year, those sitting in the stands above may not be able to tell.
“They are starting to find their rhythm. It sometimes takes a while for freshmen to adapt from high school level play to the college level,” said sophomore Mallory Costello. “Most of our team is made up of freshmen or transfers so it has been a reconstruction year. But our record proves that it’s been a successful reconstruction year.”
Costello is currently is ranked first in the conference for goals.
Although injuries have occurred, substitutes have blended in perfectly with the starting lineup. From Howk’s broken nose to Morgan Young’s torn ACL, nothing has slowed the team down.
“They are major contributors to our team and our record, said Courtney Chadburn, the graduate assistant coach. “They have great potential and will be incredibly strong in the future. I am really looking forward to seeing them play their senior year.”

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