CASTLETON, Vt. – The Castleton University volleyball team heads to Poultney, Vt., to close out the North Atlantic Conference (NAC) regular season, facing Johnson State at 10 a.m. and Lyndon State at 12 noon Saturday, Oct. 22, at the Eagle Dome on the campus of Green Mountain College.
Castleton enters Saturday's play with an 8-10 overall record, including a 2-3 mark within the NAC that has the Spartans in a tie for fourth place with Lyndon State and Maine-Presque Isle. One victory will guarantee Castleton a spot in the NAC Volleyball Tournament.
The Spartans are coming off a 3-1 victory over Green Mountain Wednesday night at Glenbrook Gym. J'Leen Diaz led Castleton with a season-high 15 kills, while Olivia Perkins finished with 12 kills and a .444 hitting percentage. Castleton finished with 18 service aces, led by Kimberly Jackson and Alex Madsen with six aces apiece, with Madsen also earning 39 assists to break her own school single-season assist record, coming into Saturday's action with 339 assists.
Johnson State is 2-19 overall and 0-5 within the NAC, having lost eight straight matches coming into Saturday's play. Breanna Laughlin leads the Badgers with 207 kills, a .240 hitting percentage, 43 service aces, 148 digs, and 13 total blocks. Kimberly Reville has contributed 100 kills, 36 service aces, and 145 digs, and Laurel Hubbert-Severance leads the team with 267 assists.
Castleton defeated Johnson State in a non-conference neutral-site match Sept. 24 in East Longmeadow, Mass., 3-0 (25-16, 25-7, 25-10). The Spartans compiled a season-high 24 service aces, led by Diaz and Kimberly Jackson with six aces each, while Perkins led the team with six kills. Laughlin led the Badgers with five kills, two service aces, and eight digs.
Lyndon State enters Saturday's play with an 8-9 overall record, including a 2-3 mark within the conference. Last Saturday, the Hornets defeated Maine-Presque Isle, 3-1, before losing a tough five-set match to Husson, 3-2. Against Husson, Lyndon State rallied from a 2-0 match deficit, winning sets three and four to force a deciding fifth set before falling, 15-10.
The Hornets have three players to watch offensively, led by Kelleigh Murtagh with 144 kills, a .205 hitting percentage, and 25 total blocks. Lauren McDonough has contributed 134 kills, 22 total blocks, and 214 digs while leading the team with 51 service aces, and Abbey Greene has added 126 kills, 31 service aces, and 149 digs. Gwyneth Stahl leads the way with 349 assists and 215 digs, plus she has earned 42 service aces and 15 total blocks.
Castleton faced Lyndon State Sept. 17 on the same court they will play on Saturday, with the Hornets defeating the Spartans 3-1 (25-18, 25-22, 22-25, 25-22). Diaz (10 kills, 19 digs), Madsen (33 assists, 11 digs), and Kimberly Jackson (10 kills, 13 digs) all notched double-doubles for Castleton, but Lyndon State took advantage of numerous Spartan attack errors, with Murtagh also earning a double-double with 11 kills and 13 digs.
After Saturday, Castleton will finish the regular season with the annual Dig Pink match, facing Norwich Wednesday, Oct. 26, at 7 p.m. at Glenbrook Gym. It will also be Senior Night for the Spartans.