CASTLETON, Vt. – Gabriella Hunt scored the game-winner as the Castleton University field hockey team came from behind to defeat Fitchburg State, 2-1 in overtime, on Tuesday.
Hunt's winner came at 3:50 of the first overtime period. After making an interception on a long clearance attempt, she raced in from the Falcon side of midfield before benefiting from a steal attempt by a visiting defender that rolled back to Hunt's stick. Then, she lifted a shot high and over the outstretched goalkeeper, Abby Bryant, which narrowly flew inside the right post.
The clincher came after Loretta Blakeney knotted the score with 4:59 remaining in regulation when Hunt got a stick on the deflected ball that found Blakeney waiting three yards in front of the cage. Gabrielle Ryan struck the ball from 23 yards out that bounced off two Falcon defenders before Hunt took a swipe and found Blakeney open by the left post.
With the win, the Spartan winning streak continued and is now the longest in program history at nine. Castleton improves to 10-2 overall and maintained sole possession of first place in the Little East Conference with an 8-0 mark.
Following a scoreless first half, Sarah Craig put the Falcons in front at 49:08 when she raced in and slapped a shot that Tashia Pashby-Rockwood could not get all of. It was the first goal allowed by the Spartans in 273:55 of play, following three consecutive shutouts.
Castleton applied relentless pressure in search for the equalizer. The best scoring chance came 47 seconds before the eventual tying tally when Hunt smacked a ball out of the air on the path of the cage before Aislinn DeHorsey made a lunging attempt to keep the ball out of the Falcon cage. It was the second defensive save for DeHorsey on the night. She also chipped in an assist on Craig's goal. Molly Richard also made a defensive save for the visitors.
Castleton, while holding a dramatic edge in possession throughout the contest, outshot the Falcons 26-6. Bryant made 12 saves in the effort for Fitchburg State (7-5, 4-3 LEC).
Pashby-Rockwood was forced to make one save to earn her tenth win of the year, having played every game for the Spartans on the campaign.
Castleton will return to action on Saturday when it hosts Worcester State (8-5, 6-2 LEC) at 4 p.m.