CASTLETON, Vt. – Sophomore Gabriella Hunt scored four times to launch the Castleton University field hockey team to the Little East Conference field hockey semifinals with an overwhelming 7-0 triumph over Eastern Connecticut State on Tuesday.
Castleton (14-4, 11-1 LEC), the top seed in the LEC playoffs in its first season in the conference, will host the championship weekend, as it will kick off the action with a 4 p.m. start against fourth-seeded Worcester State on Friday. The Lancers bested Western Connecticut State by the score of 3-2 to advance.
Hunt's four tallies set a career-high, besting her only previous hat trick, which occurred in a 9-2 rout over Wells College in 2017. She boosted her season goal total to 12 with the effort.
Loretta Blakeney scored twice for the Spartans, while Sarah Wells cashed in her team-leading 17th goal and contributed a pair of assists. Senior Gabrielle Ryan and sophomore Allison Lowell also pitched in one assist each as the Spartans outshot the Warriors 18-6.
Blakeney's two goals came in succession as Castleton had a two-goal cushion in less than 10 minutes of action. Hunt cashed in two of her goals within a 5:41 span before Wells sent the Spartans to the break with a 5-0 advantage.
Hunt secured the hat trick just 1:38 into the second stanza. Eastern Connecticut applied its best-sustained pressure over the ensuing five minutes of play, registering three shots and taking four penalty corners, but the Warriors did not convert.
Hunt's fourth goal came at 54:17 to round out the scoring.
Tashia Pashby-Rockwood made one save to earn her fifth shutout of the campaign. Keira Integlia registered seven saves for Eastern Connecticut State, as it ends its season with a 5-10 record after finishing 5-7 in LEC play.
Elsewhere, #3 Southern Maine required double-overtime to advance over #6 Fitchburg State, while #2 Keene State breezed past #7 Bridgewater State, 4-0.
Click here for the LEC tournament page with more information including a detailed bracket, championship schedules, team rosters, and more.