Utica too much for field hockey team

Feeling those butterflies in your stomach and the anxieties and pressures of what the next two hours is going to bring is a feeling the Castleton field hockey team is all too familiar with. Winning a conference in any division is an accomplishment. There’s nothing like the feeling of celebration and surrealness that comes with winning a game, especially the North Atlantic Conference championship game for the second year in a row.
“It felt awesome to win the NAC for the second year, said senior forward Rachel Preusser. “It was our number one goal as a team and accomplishing it was a big deal for us.”
“We live it, we breathe it, we build it.” That is the team’s motto and they truly abide by it. They swept Maine Farmington 7-0 in the semifinals, which was the icing on the cake because that meant Castleton had the home field advantage for the NAC finals against St. Joseph’s of Maine.
The 3-1 win over St. Joseph’s became the cherry on top.
“It means that our team is one of the best teams in our conference and that we are capable of competing with teams that are ranked higher than us,” said junior midfielder Kristy Pinkham excitedly. “It’s one of the biggest team accomplishments you can receive.”
Winning the NAC meant they were able to move on to the next round, the NCAA tournament. Becoming the champions of the NAC and being able to compete in the NCAA tournament is no easy feat; it takes blood, sweat, dedication and even tears.
Next stop, Utica, in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
“I was extremely grateful to have the feeling of being the NAC team that was represented in the NCAA tournament,” said senior Alex Sears.
Senior sweeper Shannon Burns and Preusser recall how hard they were willing to work to prove themselves once again on the field and how bad they wanted to bring that win home.
“I didn’t want that to be my last game. I was willing to do everything and anything to play another day,” said Burns, with determination in her voice.
Preusser had a similar attitude.
“I wanted to play and play my heart out,” said Pruesser.
And play those girls did. Deanna Tyson, the associate dean for athletics and recreation, stated that it’s a goal as an athletic department to win the first round of the NCAA tournament and she feels that with the way the field hockey program is going, that goal is coming getting closer and closer.
Head Coach Tammy Landon agrees wholeheartedly.
“We are getting closer,” she said. “The NCAA first round win in viable. We competed well with Utica.”
Although Castleton fell, not all was lost. Having competed in not one, but two NCAA tournaments is a huge triumph for the college. It puts Castleton’s name on the map.
With 10 seniors graduating this year, the underclassmen that have been patiently waiting on the bench for their time have some mighty big shoes to fill, but the seniors aren’t worried.
“We have more talent than some people realize we have,” said junior goalie Jess Galatioto. “It’s going to be their time to step up and I think they’re more than ready to do that.”
No matter where the future takes the team and the seniors, they can always count on each other to be there. Pinkham and Landon spoke of how they consider each other family because of what the team accomplished this year.
“This season has been very fun, said Landon. “The team supporting each other and working together was a lot of fun to be a part of.”
And no matter what, win or lose, they’ll always come out smiling.
“It doesn’t feel like we lost, it had to come to an end at some point,” said Sears smiling. “We are still the NAC champs!”

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