CASTLETON, Vt. – After a week without games, the Castleton University women's lacrosse team looks to extend its North Atlantic Conference winning streak with road contests at Johnson State Thursday, April 20, at 2 p.m. and at Colby-Sawyer Saturday, April 22, at 12 noon.
The Spartans have won all six NAC games so far this season and sit atop the league standings, a half-game in front of Colby-Sawyer and New England College. Castleton has won four games in a row overall, defeating its opponents by a combined score of 71-15 over that span.
Emily Cross is third in the NAC in assists with 18, followed closely by Tiffany Danyow in fourth with 17 assists. Danyow leads the Spartans with 29 goals and 46 total points, just ahead of Grace Johnson with 24 goals and Cross with 23 goals. In net, Samantha Hebb is third in the NAC with 105 saves, plus she has posted a 10.45 goals against average and a .477 save percentage.
Johnson State is 0-7 overall and 0-5 within the NAC heading into Thursday's contest, the start of four games in five days for the Badgers. Like Castleton, Johnson State last played on April 12 and enjoyed its highest offensive output and best defensive effort of the season, but they were not enough in a 13-9 loss at Green Mountain.
Nichole Weeks was the player of the game for the Badgers against the Eagles, scoring seven goals, picking up five ground balls, earning 14 draw controls, and causing four turnovers. Sabrina Roberge scored Johnson State's other two goals against Green Mountain, the first two goals of the season scored by a Badger other than Weeks, who has 19 goals this season. Naomi Quad played her first game as the Badger goalie and earned 10 saves against the Eagles.
This is the third meeting all-time between Castleton and Johnson State, with the Spartans winning the first two contests. After a 20-3 victory in Johnson, Vt., on April 18, 2015, Castleton earned a 20-1 victory at Spartan Stadium on April 23, 2016, as 15 different Spartans scored at least one goal and Johnson dished out five assists.
Colby-Sawyer is 9-4 overall and 6-1 within the NAC heading into Saturday's game, losing to Worcester State Wednesday, 13-10. As a team, the Chargers are averaging 28.3 shots, 14.69 goals, 23.6 ground balls, 15.4 draw controls, and 10.5 caused turnovers per game.
Nicole Lavigne leads the team and is third in the league with 48 goals, followed by Sierra Schuster's 43 goals, placing her fourth in the conference. Lavigne and Brittany Ireland pace the Chargers with 13 assists each, just ahead of Molly Mulcahy's 11 assists.
Meghan Castellano has started 12 games in net, posting an 8-2 record with a 6.64 goals against average and a .551 save percentage with 54 saves. Kailyn Lapham has appeared in 12 matches, including one start, and brings a 1-2 record with a 9.02 goals against average and a .550 save percentage with 71 saves into Saturday's game.
According to Colby-Sawyer's records, the Chargers hold an 18-9 series advantage over the Spartans, but Castleton has won the last eight meetings between the two squads. Last season, Castleton first defeated Colby-Sawyer on April 6, 2016, 15-6, as the Spartans took a 10-1 lead in the first 31 minutes of the game and then held on for the victory. Brianna MacKay led Castleton with seven goals, while Sara Berry led the Chargers with three goals.
In the 2016 NAC Tournament championship game May 7 at Spartan Stadium, Brandi Whittemore scored back-to-back man-up goals midway through the first half to give Castleton the lead for good, as the Spartans won their fifth straight conference tournament title with a 17-7 victory over the Chargers. Whittemore finished with six goals and an assist, while MacKay scored six more times for the Spartans. Three Chargers, including Lavigne, scored two goals apiece.
Castleton closes out the regular season with home games against Green Mountain Monday, April 24, at 4 p.m. and against Worcester State Thursday, April 27, at 7 p.m.