CASTLETON, Vt. – The 2018 competition schedule for the Castleton University field hockey team has been finalized, including nine home contests featuring the defending national champion and the top team in the 2017 Little East Conference regular season standings.
The Spartans open the season with three straight home games, starting with the season opener Friday night, Aug. 31, against Union College. Castleton hosts Morrisville State Sunday afternoon, Sept. 2, and then welcomes Middlebury College, the 2017 NCAA Division III national champion, for a non-conference contest Wednesday, Sept. 5.
The field hockey team will be the first Castleton squad to play a league game within the Little East Conference, traveling to face Western Connecticut State Saturday, Sept. 8. The following Saturday, Sept. 15, the Spartans host Bridgewater State, one of six LEC affiliate members in field hockey.
Castleton heads to New London, N.H., for a match against former conference foe Colby-Sawyer Wednesday, Sept. 19, before returning to league action. On Saturday, Sept. 22, the Spartans once again head south, this time to face Eastern Connecticut State.
The Spartans host Plymouth State, one of the top teams in the league last year, on Wednesday, Sept. 25, before traveling to face UMass Dartmouth Saturday, Sept. 29. Castleton hosts Framingham State in conference play Wednesday, Oct. 3, before another league road game at Salem State Friday, Oct. 5.
Three of the next four games take place at home for Castleton, starting Tuesday, Oct. 9, against Fitchburg State. The Spartans host Worcester State, the team with the best league record in 2017 at 10-1 as part of a 15-4 overall mark, on Saturday, Oct. 13, followed by a road contest at Westfield State Wednesday, Oct. 17.
Castleton closes out the home schedule with Senior Day Saturday, Oct. 20, against Southern Maine. The Spartans end the regular season at RPI Wednesday, Oct. 24, and at Keene State, the defending LEC Tournament champion, Saturday, Oct. 27.
The top eight teams among the 13-team grouping will qualify for the Little East Conference Tournament, with the four highest seeds hosting quarterfinal games on Tuesday, Oct. 30. The highest remaining seed after the quarterfinals will host both semifinals Friday, Nov. 2, and the championship match Saturday, Nov. 3, with the winner receiving an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament.
Castleton posted an 11-9 overall record in 2017, its best mark since the 2013 campaign, and qualified for the North Atlantic Conference Tournament. Christine Kemp enters her first season as head coach of the Spartan field hockey program with 14 returning players, including 2017 NAC Rookie of the Year Gabriella Hunt and All-NAC defender Megan Ryan.