CASTLETON, Vt. – The Castleton University men's lacrosse team does not leave the state of Vermont for the remainder of the regular season, but will play three road games among the final four contests of the 2017 campaign, starting with consecutive matches away from home at Norwich Tuesday, April 18, at 7 p.m. and at Johnson State Thursday, April 20, at 4:30 p.m.
Castleton is 6-7 overall after a 9-5 loss to Kean this past Saturday, but the Spartans are 3-1 within the North Atlantic Conference, currently in third place in the league standings. Castleton is one game behind NAC leader New England College and a half-game behind Lyndon State in second place.
Joshua Gosselin continues to lead the conference and is 22nd in the country in faceoff winning percentage, winning 65.1 percent (175-of-269) of the faceoffs he has taken this season. Louis Alhage is second in the NAC in assists with 24 and fourth in points with 39, while Sam Siegel is fourth in the league in goals with 24 and fifth in points with 37. In net, Brandon Myron is second in the conference in both saves with 121 and in goals against average at 10.06.
For the second straight game, Castleton will be facing an opponent with the same overall record, as Norwich is also 6-7 so far this season, but the Cadets have won six of their last nine games after an 18-6 victory over Albertus Magnus this past Saturday. Norwich boasts one of the top defenses in the country, allowing just 8.48 goals per game.
Josh Jenkins is the team's top scorer with 28 goals and 10 assists for 38 points, followed by Aidan Moulton with 17 goals and Ian Kennedy with 12 goals and nine assists for 21 points. Michael Cashman leads the team with 11 assists and is second on the squad with 43 ground balls behind Jack Dwyer, who has 47 ground balls and has won 57.7 percent (120-of-208) of faceoffs.
Four different Norwich players have seen time in net, with Ian Kriger starting seven matches and compiling a 9.42 goals against average and a .496 save percentage with 61 saves. Tyler LoPorto has started four games and has put together an 8.86 goals against average and a .544 save percentage with 49 saves, while Brandon Milburn and Sam Mattson have played goalie for the Cadets at some point this season.
According to Norwich's records, since 1976, the Cadets hold a 31-12 advantage over the Spartans, but since 2006, Castleton has won nine of the last 11 meetings between the in-state rivals. On April 13, 2016, at Spartan Stadium, Norwich outscored Castleton 6-1 in the final three quarters for a 9-5 victory. Matt Flaherty led the Cadets with two goals and three assists, while Jenkins also scored two goals. Siegel led the Spartans with a goal and two assists, and Alhage also dished out two assists.
Johnson State is 0-7 overall and 0-4 within the NAC after losing at Green Mountain last Wednesday, 13-3. The Badgers have struggled offensively, scoring just 11 goals so far this season.
Rhys Keenhold leads Johnson State with four goals and an assist for five points, plus he has picked up 45 ground balls and won 49 faceoffs. Isaiah LeReau has scored two goals so far this season for the Badgers, while Jayden Vargas has dished out a team-high two assists. Jay Palmisano has started six of the seven matches for Johnson State in net, posting a 16.17 goals against average and a .500 save percentage with 97 saves.
This will be the 21st meeting between Castleton and Johnson State, with the Spartans holding an 18-2 series advantage, including a 17-game winning streak over the Badgers. On April 23, 2016, at Spartan Stadium, Castleton scored 16 unanswered goals on its way to a 22-3 victory. Matt Levins, Jason Sedell, and Taylor Swarter each earned hat tricks to lead the Spartans, while Mason Phillips scored two goals to lead Johnson State.
Castleton concludes the regular season with a home game against Green Mountain Monday, April 24, at 6:30 p.m. and a road contest at Lyndon State Tuesday, April 25, at 4 p.m.