CASTLETON, Vt. – First-year Head Coach Christine Kemp will lead the Castleton field hockey team into their inaugural season in the Little East Conference (LEC) in 2018.
Kemp is no stranger to Division-III Field Hockey. Through five years as an assistant coach at her alma mater, Skidmore College, her teams finished 80-27, won three Liberty League titles, and advanced to the NCAA Tournament three times, including a trip to the semifinals in 2013.
After three consecutive seasons with sub .500 records, the Spartans produced a winning season in 2017, finishing 11-9 before exiting in the North Atlantic Conference (NAC) Semifinals.
Kemp has been preparing the team for competition in a tougher conference and is encouraged by the work the team has put in throughout the preseason. "The team has been putting in the hard work both on the field and in the classroom to learn the game and improve our team play," Kemp said.
The Spartans will open their season on Friday at home against Union College. Last season, the Dutchwomen topped Castleton 2-1 in double-overtime. This year, for the opener and beyond, the coaching staff will rely heavily on their experienced players to help them get over the hump.
"We have a strong group of veterans that will be looked at to guide our team and build a culture of dedication and success."
Leading the returning fleet of Spartans is Cydney Jeffrey and Sarah Wells. Jeffrey, the junior midfielder, carries over more points than any other veteran from last season. In 2017, she scored 10 goals to go along with a team-high nine assists for 29 points. Wells, a senior forward, will also be expected to produce points for the Spartan offense. She scored 10 goals last year and added seven assists for 27 points.
"Captains Gabrielle Ryan and Sarah [Wells] bring competitiveness and leadership to the team as we strive to reach our season goals."
A group of five freshmen will also get the chance to play and impact the team. The coaches believe in the abilities of the rookies and look forward to seeing which of them are able to take steps to develop as student-athletes in both facets of the term.
The Spartans will continue their three-game homestand to open the season on Sunday when they host the Mustangs of Morrisville State. Then, Middlebury will come in on Wednesday, before Castleton commences their conference schedule on the road at Western Connecticut State on Sept. 8.