CASTLETON, Vt. – With spring officially beginning and the temperatures warming up, the Castleton University men's lacrosse team is preparing to return to the field with home games against Norwich Wednesday, March 21, at 6 p.m. and against Southern Maine Saturday, March 24, at 4 p.m.
The Spartans last played on March 10 at Curry College before seeing contests against SUNY Potsdam, Lyndon, and Plymouth State postponed due to the weather. Castleton is looking for its first victory of the season as it opens the home schedule after losses to Plattsburgh State, nationally ranked St. Lawrence, and Curry.
Junior goalie Brandon Myron is 10th in the country in saves per game with 16.67, including 19 saves against Plattsburgh State and 20 saves against Curry. Of Castleton's 11 goals so far this season, Kevin McCarthy has scored eight of them, featuring a four-goal performance in the Spartans' most recent game against the Colonels.
Norwich enters Wednesday's game with a 2-2 overall record, with both wins coming on the road at UMass-Dartmouth (13-10) and at Southern Maine (10-6) while both losses were at home to Coast Guard (17-1) and Plymouth State (14-12). As a team, the Cadets are averaging nine goals, 35 shots, and 26.8 ground balls per game.
Josh Jenkins leads the Cadets with seven goals, with Ian Kennedy scoring six goals and Cody Moore also collecting six goals along with four assists for 10 total points. Jack Dwyer has taken all but five of the faceoffs so far this season, winning 52.7 percent (48-for-91) of those faceoffs. Ian Kriger has started all four games in net for Norwich, posting a 10.86 goals against average with a .542 save percentage.
Norwich has won the last two meetings over Castleton, with the Spartans last defeating the Cadets April 2, 2015, 8-4. Last year, Castleton took a 7-5 lead early in the second quarter, but Norwich ended the first half with four unanswered goals on its way to a 13-9 victory. Sam Siegel led the Spartans with five goals and one assist, while six Cadets scored at least two goals apiece.
The Castleton-Norwich contest has been established as the Connor Roberts Memorial Game in honor of a Norwich lacrosse student-athlete who suddenly passed away in June 2014. His brother Ben played lacrosse at Castleton and his sister Danielle was a member of the Spartan women's ice hockey team. In February, both teams participated in the Climb For Connor to raise money for the CJR Memorial Fund, which benefits high school students and youth sports programs in St. Albans. The two teams will come together after Wednesday's match for a dinner to present the Roberts family with the proceeds from this year's 24-hour rock climbing marathon.
Southern Maine begins the week with a 1-2 record with a convincing win at Maine Maritime (18-1) followed by losses at University of New England (15-3) and against Norwich (10-6). The Huskies play at Curry Tuesday and at Saint Joseph's of Maine Thursday before coming to Spartan Stadium Saturday afternoon.
Nate Delgiudice leads the Huskies with seven goals and three assists, while Paul Leonardo has collected four goals and one assist so far this season. The faceoffs have been split between Derek Davidson (20-for-32) and Cruise Lizotte-Johnson (14-for-32). Zach Bessette has played every second in net for the Huskies, accumulating an 8.67 goals against average and a .519 save percentage.
Last season in Gorham, Maine, Castleton jumped out to a 9-2 lead on its way to a 15-7 victory over Southern Maine. Siegel led the Spartans with five goals and three assists, with Jason Sedell contributing three goals for Castleton. Bryce Randall led the Huskies with three goals.
After Saturday's game, Castleton remains home for contests against SUNY Canton (March 28) and Maine Maritime (March 31) to close out the month.