Student-Athletes Lauded at Fall Awards Ceremony

Student-Athletes Lauded at Fall Awards Ceremony

CASTLETON, Vt. – The Castleton University Department of Athletics honored the 2015 fall sports teams at an awards ceremony on Wednesday, December 2. Castleton President Dave Wolk presented the President’s Cup for Academic Excellence while MVP’s were also honored for each sport.  

The event kicked off with the presentation of the President's Cup for Academic Excellence. This coveted award is given out each season to the team with the highest cumulative grade point average. This year four teams posted GPA’s over 3.0, with the top three separated by just 0.15. Women’s cross country won the President’s Cup with an impressive 3.63 Team GPA while last year’s winner, women’s soccer, was close behind with a 3.51 GPA. Volleyball, who won the 2013 President’s Cup, was third with a 3.48 GPA while Field Hockey placed fourth with a 3.14 GPA. 

Men’s Cross Country
Castleton had a successful season under first-year head coach Dave Heitkamp, recording a pair of top-two finishes and placing fifth at the NAC Championship. Team MVP Grandon Smith earned First-Team All-Conference after placing second at the NAC Championships and then became the first Spartan in over five years to earn All-ECAC honors, by taking 12th overall at the ECAC Championships. 

Women’s Cross Country
Castleton recorded its best finish in the NAC Championship since 2010, as the Spartans placed third overall in the 2015 NAC Championship. The team also won the Castleton Invitational earlier in the year. Team MVP Elizabeth Bassette was solid for the Spartans all season, earning First-Team All-Conference honors by finishing eighth in the NAC Championship and then leading the team in the ECAC Championships. 

Field Hockey
The Spartans went 4-12 this past year, though four of their losses were decided by a single goal. Freshman Sarah Wells led the team with 22 points on eight goals and six assists. Team MVP Meeghan Doris kept the Spartans in numerous games this year. The goalie finished the year sixth in the nation with 13.44 saves per game and recorded a career-high 31 stops in a tough loss to No. 8 Skidmore. 

Castleton tied its best record in program history, going 7-3 overall while averaging 27 points per game. The Spartans finished the year with a 31-13 victory over Norwich to claim the Maple Sap Bucket Trophy once again. The team then had a school-record seven players named First-Team All-Conference. Team MVP Soren Pelz-Walsh led the conference in receptions, receiving yards and was second in receiving touchdowns on his way to earning First-Team All-Conference and Academic All-District honors. 

The Spartans won their first two events of the year and then placed third in the NAC Championship under first-year head coach Brian Hill. Team MVP Zach Temple led the team all season long, finishing third overall at the NAC Championship and then took third at the NEIGA Championship in a field of 110 golfers from throughout New England. 

Men’s Soccer
Castleton tied the program record for victories as the Spartans went 15-5-3. They advanced to the NAC Title game, playing to a tie through two overtimes before falling in penalty kicks. They then reached the ECAC Semifinals before going down again in penalty kicks. Senior Jake Tietgens broke through for 16 goals and six assists to post the highest single-season scoring total in 12 years. Team MVP Amir Pasic was an anchor in goal, earning NAC Defensive Player of the Year honors. He finished with a 0.74 GAA, 14 wins and eight shutouts. 

Women’s Soccer
The Spartans went 12-8 in 2015, including taking No. 2 Williams to overtime and going 9-0 in the NAC during the regular season. Castleton fell in the NAC Semifinals but had four players earn First-Team All-Conference honors. Team MVP Jess Phillips started all 20 games in the midfield as scored two goals with one assist while also serving as a captain for the second consecutive year. 

Women’s Tennis
Castleton posted an impressive 11-3 record and appeared in its sixth consecutive NAC Championship game this year. The Spartans fell to Colby-Sawyer, but only after taking down Husson 8-1 in the NAC Semifinals. Five players earned Second-Team All-Conference honors. Team MVP Sara Novenstern played at No. 1 singles for the first time in her career, earning All-Conference recognition from that spot. 

Women’s Volleyball
The Spartans posted the team’s second-best record in program history and advanced to the NAC Semifinals. Castleton went 13-10 for its first winning record since 2009 and captured one set in the NAC Semifinals for the first time in program history. Team MVP Brittany Brayman earned First-Team All-Conference honors this year after ranking in the top five in the conference in both kills and digs.

Team MVP's (L-R): Zach Temple (Golf), Meeghan Doris (Field Hockey), Sara Novenstern (W Tennis), Elizabeth Bassette (W Cross Country), Grandon Smith (M Cross Country), Brittany Brayman (Volleyball), Soren Pelz-Walsh (Football), Amir Pasic (M Soccer), Jess Phillips (W Soccer)