The Castleton women’s hockey team has kicked off its 2023-2024 campaign with an up and down start. The Spartans have a 4-5-1 record (update before time of print) but have been in every game they have lost.
The women have also pushed teams like #5 Middlebury and #13 Norwich to close games but couldn’t quite get the job done.
“I think the season started off on the right foot. We have a super young team and we really focused on building our chemistry during the first half of the season. When we get back from break, I think a huge component for us to find success is building off the chemistry that we have already built and start creating more opportunities in the O-zone.,” said junior Emery Bonner.
The team this season has 15 underclassmen, with six of them being first-years. The team also added a junior transfer as well as a senior transfer to the squad.
“We’ve started to build chemistry with each other, and things are starting to click really well. It’s obvious as a group, we all have a strong drive to win and I think that’s what’s going to carry us into the next half of the season,” said sophomore Rachel Mcneil.
Coming up on the Spartans schedule is the Bagley Invitational tournament which will be held at Spartan Area. The women open the tournament against Rivier University in the first round of the tournament and depending on the outcome could end up playing SUNY Potsdam or Colby College in the second game. This tournament then leads the women into their Winter break and then they resume games Jan. 2 against Amherst college.
“We have a strong schedule when we get back from Christmas break so it’s important that we keep the ball rolling and have no bad days,” said Bonner.
When the team returns from break, they jump right back into action with a three-game week starting with an out of conference game at Amherst College followed by two conference games at Elmira and William Smith.
“Finding a way to play a full 60 minutes rather than taking shifts off has been our biggest issue. We’re having problems with the mental side of things during games. So just coming together as a team and being confident enough to know that we can keep up with the better teams in our conference if we choose to is going to play a big role,” said senior Victoria Bakopanos.
Although the team is young and there can be some growing pains, many of the first-year players have found success on the ice – especially Taylor Adams, who has been named the NEHC Rookie of the Week two times this season.