CASTLETON, Vt. – Castleton University took the lead in the first half and then held on to defeat Colby-Sawyer College, 12-10, Saturday night in the championship match of the 2018 North Atlantic Conference Women's Lacrosse Tournament at Spartan Stadium.
With the victory, Castleton, now 11-6 overall, wins its seventh consecutive NAC Tournament title and advances to the NCAA Division III Women's Lacrosse Tournament. Colby-Sawyer ends its season with an overall record of 10-6.
Emily Cross led the Spartans with four goals and two assists and was named the NAC Tournament MVP. Erin Shuttle, Emma Best, and Nadine Downing scored two goals apiece for Castleton. Defensive, Erin McKenna caused four turnovers, and Samantha Hebb made 14 saves.
Brittany Ireland led Colby-Sawyer with four goals, while Nicole Lavigne also notched a hat trick with three goals to go along with nine draw controls. Bailey Starr led the Charger defense with four caused turnovers, and goalie Kailyn Lapham finished with 11 saves as she kept Colby-Sawyer in the match.
Shuttle started the scoring 49 seconds into the match as she converted a free-position attempt, but the Chargers tied the game 27 seconds later on a goal by Briana Couture. Castleton started a stretch of three straight goals less than a minute later as Hannah Braman found Best, followed by tallies from McKenna and Cross.
Colby-Sawyer scored twice in the span of 28 seconds on goals by Ireland and Lavigne to close to within one at 4-3. Castleton proceeded to score four unanswered goals, the first three by Cross before she assisted on Downing's first goal of the night, to extend its lead to 8-3. Lavigne scored on a free-position attempt with 15 seconds left in the first half to make the score 8-4 at halftime.
Lavigne scored again just over two minutes into the second half, and then Ireland scored to cut the Spartan lead to 8-6 five minutes into the second half. The two teams would then exchange goals the rest of the way, with the Chargers unable to cut their deficit any smaller than two and the Spartans stopped from increasing their lead past three.
Colby-Sawyer outshot Castleton, 29-28, and collected more ground balls, 24-21, but the Chargers failed on eight clear attempts while the Spartans failed on only four clearing chances. Each team collected 12 draw controls, and Castleton committed just one more turnover than Colby-Sawyer, 20-19.
Castleton will find out its first opponent in the NCAA Tournament when the entire bracket is announced on NCAA.com Sunday, May 6, at 10 p.m.
NAC ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM
- Amanda Deshaies - Husson
- Mallory Burchill - Husson
- Alyssa Tursi - NEC
- Anya Owens - NEC
- Nicole Lavigne - Colby-Sawyer
- Kailyn Lapham - Colby-Sawyer
- Mattie Iaria - Colby-Sawyer
- Samantha Hebb - Castleton
- Emma Best - Castleton
- Erin McKenna - Castleton
- Katie Feeney - Castleton
- Emily Cross - Castleton (MVP)