Castleton secures first-ever NCAA berth behind balanced attack

Castleton secures first-ever NCAA berth behind balanced attack

CASTLETON, Vt. – Angelica Mazzola (Centerport, N.Y.) scored four goals and handed out a pair of assists to lead eight different Spartan scorers as Castleton State College downed SUNY-Morrisville 18-11 in the North Atlantic Conference (NAC) Women's Lacrosse Championship Saturday afternoon at Spartan Stadium.

Castleton, which advanced to the championship by way of its East Division championship win last weekend, improves to 12-6 on the season and has earned the program's first-ever berth in the NCAA Division III Women's Lacrosse National Tournament. West Division champion Morrisville State sees its season close at 13-5.

Freshman Shelby Wood (Duanesburg, N.Y.) gave the Mustangs a 3-2 lead with 16:07 remaining in the first half, but Castleton answered with a 5-1 run and never looked back in the win. Wood's marker came after a Castleton slash gave the Mustangs the player-advantage. Wood made full use of the extra space after being heavily marked for the opening 14 minutes of play, potting her 79th goal of the season.

Mazzola and Amanda Flodstrom (Stratham, N.H.) took over from there. The former started and finished the 5-1 surge, and the latter provided a pair of goals in the interim, giving the Spartans a lead they would not relinquish. After another Wood tally brought the Mustangs back to within striking distance at 7-5, Flodstrom finished the half with a goal and an assist on a Sarah Clark (Guilford, Vt.) snipe to push the margin to 9-5 at intermission.

The Mustangs began the second half in the same manner as the first, as Hillary Hartnett (Fairport, N.Y.) netted a pair to close the gap to 9-7 with just 1:57 gone in the half. Castleton then rattled off four-straight goals, including two from Kate Auer (South Glens Falls, N.Y.) and one each from Mariah Lesure (Vernon, Vt.) and Mazzola to provide a six-goal cushion by the midpoint of the half.

The teams played even for the remainder of the contest, with a Cori Healy (Jefferson Township, N.J.) free-position goal rounding out the scoring with three seconds remaining.

Flodstrom finished with three goals and an assist and Auer added three scores of her own. Blake Wardwell (Bridgewater, Vt.), Jessica Taplin (Barre, Vt.) and Healy each popped in two.

Wood finished with four goals, wrapping up a stellar rookie campaign with 82. Hartnett chipped in three and Anderson finished with a pair.

Clark was named the game's Most Valuable Player, filling the Spartan stat-sheet. The sophomore midfielder tallied a goal and an assist, while causing a game-high four turnovers to go along with four ground balls and three draw controls.

Freshman netminder Kelsey McDonald (Burnt Hills, N.Y.) continued her run of impressive games, making 15 saves to improve to 6-1 on the season.

Daniel Puzio (Holbrook, N.Y.) made 14 saves in the loss.

Castleton will learn its opponent on Sunday evening when the NCAA airs the Division III Selection show at 9:30 pm live at