CASTLETON, Vt. – Castleton University rallied from a five-goal deficit to tie the game, but Keene State scored four of the final five goals of the match in the last 10 minutes as the Owls defeated the Spartans, 16-13, Wednesday afternoon in a non-conference collegiate women's lacrosse match at Spartan Stadium.
Down 9-4 just one-and-a-half minutes into the second half, the Spartans rallied back, as Ashley Pelkey scored, and then she assisted on a goal by Grace Johnson. Just 24 seconds after Johnson's goal, Tiffany Danyow set up Emily Cross for a goal, and then Danyow converted on a free position attempt to bring Castleton to within one at 9-8.
Keene State (3-7) extended its lead back to two just 18 seconds later on a goal by Gabby Smith, but Castleton responded 39 seconds afterwards on Pelkey's third goal of the day. The Owls stretched their advantage on goals by Taylor Graf and Chelsea Lewis, pulling ahead 12-9 with 17:20 remaining in the second half.
Less than three minutes later, Nadine Downing converted on a free position attempt, and then Danyow found Cross on the same exact play twice in a row within 26 seconds to tie the game at 12-12 with 12:56 left in regulation. Neither team was able to pull ahead for close to four minutes although each squad did create scoring chances.
Taylor Farland scored consecutive goals in a 10-second span to give Keene State the lead for good, and Tori Weinstock followed with a free position goal two minutes later. Johnson completed her hat trick with 5:40 remaining in the second half to bring Castleton back within two, but the Owls held possession for a significant amount of time down the stretch, with Weinstock finding Graf to close out the scoring with 23.9 seconds left.
Cross led Castleton with the first four-goal game of her career, while Pelkey earned a career-high five points on three goals and two assists, Johnson earned her third hat trick of the season, and Danyow finished with two goals and three assists. Samantha Hebb made 11 saves in net for the Spartans.
Farland led the Owls with six goals and two assists as well as four draw controls, with Lewis and Graf also notching hat tricks with three goals apiece. Alison Argiro started the game in net for Keene State and earned three saves before she was replaced by Anna O'Brien, who earned her first win of the season after making one save in the final 22:31.
Castleton (2-6) begins a stretch of seven consecutive conference games with a road contest at Thomas College Thursday, April 6, starting at 4 p.m. The Spartans return home for NAC games against Husson Saturday, April 8, and Maine-Farmington Sunday, April 9, both starting at 3:30 p.m. at Spartan Stadium.