Westfield, MA – Nicole Adams (Rutland, VT) scored six goals and Marie VanDerKar (Manchester, VT) tallied four goals as Castleton State College held on for an 18-17 victory over Westfield State in a semifinal game of the New England Women's Lacrosse Alliance (NEWLA) tournament.
Castleton, 13-5, advances to the NEWLA championship game where it will play the winner of the other semifinal between Fitchburg State and Bridgewater State. Westfield, Bridgewater and Castleton shared the NEWLA regular season championship with 6-1 records but the Owls (11-4) earned the right to host the Spartans in the semis with an identical 18-17 victory (overtime) on April 10.
Castleton led the entire game except for a 23-second span of the second half when Westfield rallied to take a 15-14 lead. The Spartans jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the opening 1:13 and took their biggest lead, 9-3, with 11:20 remaining in the first half following two consecutive goals by Adams.
Sparked by two goals from both Carly Keeley (Feeding Hills, MA) and Becca Kelley (Westfield, MA), the Owls went on a 6-1 run to close within a goal, 11-10, with 1:38 left in the first half. But Adams scored a key goal on a rebound of a free position shot with seven seconds remaining to give Castleton a 12-10 halftime advantage.
The Owls held tough defensively and they outscored the Spartans, 5-2, in the opening 18 minutes of the second half to take a 15-14 lead with 12:10 remaining in the game.
Junior standout Rachel Dionne (Feeding Hills, MA) scored a goal during the run and assisted on the tying and go ahead goals by senior Ally Brown (Andover, MA) and freshman Maura Stack (Wilbraham, MA).
Castleton responded well to the Westfield comeback, however, scoring four straight goals in a two-minute span for an 18-15 lead with 9:45 remaining. Adams had the tying and go ahead goals and VanDerKar scored on a beautiful breakaway after forcing an Owl turnover near midfield.
The Spartans went scoreless the final 9:45 as they held on for the big victory between the evenly matched teams. Dionne and Brown teamed up for a goal at the 6:03 mark and freshman Ari Colella (Franklin, MA) scored a superb unassisted goal with 4:44 remaining.
The Owls had two opportunities to tie the score in the closing minutes. Dionne took a close-range shot from the left side that was high at the 2:54 mark, and Colella rifled a shot on the ground that was saved by Castleton goalie Lily Derbyshire (Little Compton, RI) with 2:36 remaining.
Castleton then controlled the ball for more than two minutes until Westfield forced a too-late turnover with eight seconds remaining.
Adams scored a game-high seven points as she also dished out an assist. VanDerKar also registered an assist and Stephanie Pearce (Shoreham, NY) and Elizabeth Haggerty (Centerport, NY) both had three goals and an assist.
Westfield out-shot Castleton, 30-25, but the Owls lost the draw control battle, 22-14. Derbyshire finished with eight saves, including several big stops in both halves.
Kelley (4 goals, 2 assists) and Dionne (3 goals, 3 assists) led Westfield with six points apiece. Colella collected three goals and an assist and Stack scored three goals.
Courtesy of: Westfield State Sports Information