CASTLETON, Vt. – The Castleton University women's lacrosse team looks to get back on the winning track as it travels to Northfield, Vt., to face Norwich Thursday, March 22, at 7 p.m. before opening the North Atlantic Conference schedule against Colby-Sawyer Saturday, March 24, at 1 p.m. at Spartan Stadium.
Castleton is 1-4 so far this season after a 12-10 loss to Worcester State last Friday. The contest at Norwich will be the first road game for the Spartans in almost three weeks, since the season opener at SUNY Canton March 3. The Colby-Sawyer game became the conference opener for Castleton when the Lyndon match scheduled for last Saturday was postponed until April 15.
Offensively for the Spartans, Erin Shuttle is tied for third in the NAC in both goals (15) and total points (19), plus she is second in the league with 38 total shots. Emily Cross is tied with Shuttle for third in the conference in total points (19) as well as third in assists with seven, and Hannah Braman is fifth in the league with five assists so far this season.
Defensively, Samantha Hebb is 47th in Division III in saves per game at 11.0 and 50th in the country in total saves with 55. Hebb is second in the NAC in saves as well as fourth in the league in save percentage (.462) and fifth in goals against average (12.90).
Norwich brings a 1-1 record into Thursday's game, losing to Colby-Sawyer on March 5, 17-11, before defeating Emmanuel, 13-12, Tuesday. The Cadets were forced to wait two weeks between matches, as a road trip to Maine last week to face Thomas and Maine Maritime was cancelled due to the weather.
The Cadets scored the first five goals Tuesday against Emmanuel and held a 9-4 lead at halftime. Emmanuel would score the first four goals of the second half to come within one, the first of four times that would happen, but the Cadets held off their opponents for the victory. Kathryn Albretsen led Norwich with six goals and one assist along with seven draw controls.
This will be the ninth meeting all-time between Castleton and Norwich, with the Spartans holding a 7-1 series advantage. The intrastate rivals last met on April 3, 2015, in Northfield, Vt., a 15-3 Castleton victory led by Brianna MacKay with three goals and one assist and Kate Auer with three goals. Gina Conroy scored all three goals for the Cadets.
Colby-Sawyer College is 3-2 overall entering Saturday's contest with high-scoring wins over Rivier (23-10), Mount Ida (18-16), and Norwich (17-11) along with an overtime loss to Simmons (14-13) and a close defeat in its most recent contest against Southern Maine (10-8). As a team, the Chargers are averaging 15.8 goals, 31.8 shots, 19.2 ground balls, and 15.8 draw controls per game.
Nicole Lavigne is second in the conference with 24 goals this season, averaging 4.8 goals per game, 19th in Division III in that statistical category. Sierra Schuster has collected 14 goals and five assists, while Brittany Ireland has contributed 10 goals and eight assists for the Chargers. Kailyn Lapham has played every second in net for Colby-Sawyer, posting a 12.11 goals against average and a .492 save percentage with 59 total saves, most in the NAC.
This is believed to be the 30th meeting all-time between Castleton and Colby-Sawyer, with the Chargers holding an 18-11 series advantage. Castleton has won 10 straight games over Colby-Sawyer since 2010, including both meetings last season. In the regular season in New London, N.H., the Spartans cruised to a 19-4 victory, led by Grace Johnson with six goals and one assist.
Just eight days later, the teams met again in the NAC Tournament semifinals at Spartan Stadium, with Castleton holding off Colby-Sawyer for a 15-13 victory. Tiffany Danyow scored five goals and Ashley Pelkey added four goals for the Spartans, while Lavigne finished with eight goals, two assists, and seven draw controls to lead the Chargers.
After Saturday's game, Castleton travels to face Keene State Tuesday, March 27, before returning home for a league contest against Maine Maritime next Saturday, March 31.