PAWTUCKET, R.I. – Five members of the 2018 Castleton University field hockey team were named to the Little East Conference (LEC) All-Conference list announced Thursday afternoon from the conference office.
Christine Kemp was named the LEC Coach of the Year in her first season at the reigns of the program. Senior forward Sarah Wells, junior defender Ellie Gevry, and sophomore midfielder Gabriella Hunt each earned First Team All-Conference honors. Sophomore forward Loretta Blakeney was recognized on the Honorable Mention list.
Kemp guided the program to a 15-5 overall record and finished 11-1 in conference play to earn the LEC regular season title. She also led the team through a program-best 11-game winning streak. The win total is the second most in program history, trailing only the 2012 team that finished 17-5 and won the North Atlantic Conference (NAC) championship.
The Skidmore College alumnae and former Thoroughbred assistant coach took over the program on June 10, inheriting a roster of 14 returning letter winners and four newcomers. Tasked with a move to the LEC, Castleton was ranked 11th out of 13 in the LEC Preseason Coaches' Poll. Behind Kemp's guidance, the team knocked off Western Connecticut State on the road on Sept. 8, 1-0, to earn Castleton's first LEC victory in any sport. The Spartans later advanced to the LEC championship game where they fell in a one goal-affair to Keene State.
Wells scored a career-high 18 goals in her farewell season to finish in a tie for fourth in the LEC. She netted a pair of hat tricks (Sept. 25 @ Plymouth State, Oct. 5 @ Salem State) and was selected the LEC Offensive Player of the Week twice (Sept. 24, Oct. 29). Over a nine-game period spanning from Sept. 15 to Oct. 13, she had at least one point in eight games while totaling 27 total points throughout the thick of Castleton's best-ever winning streak.
The team captain and Bellows Falls, Vermont native ended the season with a goal in three consecutive games and added three assists prior to the LEC finals. Wells finished her career ranked fifth all-time in Castleton field hockey history in points (111), goals (43), fourth in assists (25), and sixth in points per game (1.54).
On Oct. 26 at Keene State, Wells scored the double-overtime game-winning goal to give Castleton its first-ever LEC regular-season title and the top seed in the playoff tournament.
Castleton was 14-0 when Hunt registered at least one point against a 1-5 mark when she did not score. On the season, she scored 13 goals and 11 assists to total 37 points in her impressive sophomore campaign. On Oct. 30 in the LEC quarterfinals against Eastern Connecticut State, Hunt tallied four goals to lead the Spartans to a 7-0 decision over the Warriors.
The Granville, New York native boasted a nine-game point streak from Sept. 19 through Oct. 20 where she collected five goals and nine assists for 19 points. In the final eight games of the stretch, Hunt assisted at least once, including a pair of helpers in Castleton's 3-1 win at Westfield State on Oct. 17.
Hunt was responsible for two overtime goals, including the game-winner against Worcester State in the LEC semifinals. She also scored in overtime against Fitchburg State on Oct. 9.
Gevry spearheaded a Castleton defense that surrendered just 2.0 goals per game, good for fourth in the LEC. The New Haven, Vermont native started every game for the Spartans in 2018. Gevry led a defensive unit that held opponents to 12.7 shot attempts per game, including fewer than seven per game on target.
The Castleton defense held opponents to 12 or fewer shots 14 times in 20 contests. In addition, Gevry was a key component in a defensive core that relied on its goalkeeper to make five or fewer saves in 16 games.
Gevry was relied upon routinely in the middle of the Castleton defense to force turnovers and alleviate the opposition's offensive pressure. She also made one defensive save in Castleton's loss to the defending national champion and nationally first-ranked Middlebury.
Blakeney scored 14 goals to finish second on the team and seventh in the LEC to earn the Honorable Mention recognition. She also scored four game-winning goals to match Hunt for the team lead.
The Barnard, Vermont native scored her first career goal in Castleton's season-opening loss to Union College. She played as a defender in her freshman season. She scored seven goals over a five-game goal scoring streak from Sept. 25 to Oct. 9. In the final game of the scoring streak at home against Fitchburg State, she scored the game-tying goal with just under five minutes remaining in regulation. The Spartans eventually won the game in overtime with a goal from Hunt.
Blakeney scored two goals in three different games: Sept. 29 at UMass-Dartmouth, Oct. 5 at Salem State, Oct. 30 versus Eastern Connecticut State. She also recorded at least one shot attempt in 17 out of 20 games.
Castleton will look to return to the LEC in 2019 as one of the league favorites and make an attempt at its first conference title. Castleton has 15 players eligible to return to the team in 2019.