Underdog playoff run comes to an end

The women’s soccer team’s season came to a close on Nov. 7 when they lost in the Little East Conference Semifinals against the four-time defending champion Colonials of Western Connecticut State 3-1.

Head coach Chris Chapdelaine knew it wasn’t going to be an easy matchup but was pleased with his team’s effort.

“I thought we played our hearts out,” he said. “It’s never easy to travel four hours, play in the freezing cold rain against a good team.”

Senior forward Makenzi Bellando echoed what her coach had said about the weather.

“The weather was probably one of the worst I’ve ever played in of all the games I’ve played in my life,” she said.

The semifinal matchup saw junior goalie Loren Henderson save a career-high 18 shots. The Spartans’ defense allowed 36 shots total, with 21 of them being on target.

Castleton only had 13 shots in the game.

The Colonials were the first to score, but Bellando was able to put one in the back of the net for her seventh goal of the season to even things up in the 31-minute mark.

The first half ended with things all square, but Western Connecticut St. was able to put two away in the second half to secure a spot in the LEC Final this past Saturday.

They were shutout by U-Mass Boston 4-0.

Henderson was proud of her teammates even in defeat.

“We came out and battled hard. We were gritty and we competed,” she said.

Although the Spartans didn’t want to see their season come to a close, Chapdelaine was happy with how the season played out.

“I’m really proud of this team and what they accomplished this year,” he said.

He also referred to this team as a, “really great group of people who were fun to be around.”

Chapdelaine has plenty to look forward to heading into next year’s season.

For starters, the team is only losing four seniors. The bulk of the team will be returning, which is good news for the coach.

One of those players is Henderson, who will be going into her senior year. Although she is going to be ready for next year, the feeling of moving forward is bittersweet.

“We had one of those teams where no matter what happened we all had each other’s backs and none of us were ready for it to end,” she said. “I’m proud to have been able to go as far as we did with such an amazing group of people.”

One of the players graduating is Bellando, who has had an eventful four years at Castleton. She was on the team that made it to the NCAA Tournament during her sophomore year.

“It’s definitely bittersweet…The people who I’m surrounded by every day, which is mainly coaches and teammates, definitely have helped me grow,” she said.

Chapdelaine is optimistic about what the team will be able to do next season, especially with all of those returning players.

“Next year should be a good one as we should be able to build upon this year’s success…If we continue to do what we have been doing we should be fun to watch,” he said.

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