Castleton, Vt. - The Spartans and Plymouth St. fought a back-and-forth battle for the first half, but were outplayed in the second half, falling 13-9 against the Panthers on Thursday evening at Spartan Stadium.
Amy MacDonald finished with a game-high four goals for the Panthers while Caroline Vonachen and Emily Tilton each tallied three scores as the visitors rolled to their third win of the year. Brandi Whittemore finished with a hat trick for the Spartans and Brianna MacKay notched a pair of goals as well.
In the first half, Plymouth St. jumped out to an early 3-0 lead with a trio of goals within the first five minutes. Molly Gleason opened the scoring for the Panthers 2:34 into the game, followed by a goal from Emily Tilton 25 seconds later. Amy MacDonald put the visiting side up 3-0 with 25:36 remaining in the half.
After the first five minutes of play, the Spartans finally seemed to snap out of their funk. The squad scored a pair of back-to-back goals from MacKay and Whittemore at the 5:38 and 8:54 marks respectively to cut the lead to 3-2.
After Caroline Vanochen extended the Panthers' lead to 4-2, Whittemore responded with a pair of goals to tie the game at 4-4 with 16:52 remaining in the first half. Less than a minute later, the Panthers recaptured the lead when Jordyn Godfrey buried a shot to put Plymouth St. up 5-4.
The Spartans took their first lead of the game with 9:03 remaining in the first half. Amanda Flodstrom buried a free position shot to put the Spartans ahead 6-5 late in the first half. The Panthers took the lead before the half, scoring a pair of goals in the final eight minutes of the half, earning a 7-6 before the break.
In the second half, the Panthers dominated possession of the ball, forcing the Spartans into defensive breakdowns, outscoring the Spartans 6-3 in the second frame.
Tilton extended the Plymouth lead to 8-6 with a goals just over six minutes into the second half, but Maddy DaCosta answered for the Spartans to cut the deficit back to one, making it 8-7 with 19:41 remaining.
With her team leading by just one with under 20 minutes remaining, Amy MacDonald took over the game for the Panthers. The junior scored three of the Panthers' next five goals to extend the Plymouth lead to 13-7.
Castleton continued battling over the final minutes, scoring a pair of goals in the final four minutes. Kate Auer and Jenna Bostwick each tallied scores off of free position shots to cut the lead to 13-9, but it was all the offense that the Spartans could muster before time ran out.
Rachel Bombardier took the loss in net, making five saves. Lorin Field earned the win in net for the Panthers making 11 saves to keep the Spartans off the board.
Castleton falls to 1-4 on the season and will begin their North Atlantic Conference schedule by hosting Maine-Farmington on Saturday, March 29. Castleton has not lost a game against a NAC opponent since joining the conference in 2012.