CASTLETON, Vt. – Having won six of its last seven games, the Castleton University men's lacrosse team enters a stretch of three contests in four days, hosting Lyndon State Thursday, April 12, at 7 p.m. and Thomas College Saturday, April 14, at 1 p.m. before traveling to face Kean University Sunday, April 15, at 12 noon.
The Spartans are coming off consecutive 8-6 victories over Husson and Plymouth State last weekend to improve to 6-5 overall and 3-0 within the North Atlantic Conference. Kyle Lutinski and Jason Sedell scored two goals apiece to lead Castleton over the Eagles last Saturday, while Tyler Crowningshield, the NAC Player of the Week, scored three goals in the second half Sunday as the Spartans defeated the Panthers.
Josh Gosselin is 49th in Division III in ground balls per game (6.36) and 56th in the country in face-off winning percentage (.596). Brandon Myron has started all 11 games in net for the Spartans this season and is currently 56th in the country in save percentage (.575) and 63rd in Division III in saves per game (11.18), notching seven double-digit save performance so far in 2018.
Lyndon enters Thursday's game with a 3-6 overall record, including a 1-2 mark within the NAC after victories over Green Mountain (20-3) and Albertus Magnus (13-7). As a team, the Hornets are averaging 8.2 goals, 35.9 shots, 26.8 ground balls, and 6.8 caused turnovers per game.
Shea Jones leads the Hornets with 20 goals, 12 assists, and 32 total points, third in the NAC in points as well as tied for fourth in both goals and assists. Spencer Aubin also has 12 assists to go along with 13 goals. Brandon Hunter has collected 40 ground balls to lead Lyndon in that category.
Defensively, Jones paces the Hornets with 13 caused turnovers, with Kendrick Mills contributing 10 caused turnovers. Marcus Bessette has played every second in net for Lyndon so far this season, posting a 10.89 goals against average and a .608 save percentage with 152 total saves, fourth in the country in saves per game and 10th in save percentage.
This is the 11th meeting all-time between Castleton and Lyndon, with the Spartans winning the previous 10 contests. Castleton defeated Lyndon twice last season, first 17-3 during the regular season led by five goals from Kevin McCarthy. In the NAC Tournament semifinals, the Spartans defeated the Hornets, 17-5, with Sedell scoring six goals for Castleton.
Thomas College enters Saturday's game with a 2-5 overall record, including a 2-2 mark within the NAC. The Terriers have lost three straight games, including a 15-2 loss at Dean College Wednesday. As a team, Thomas is averaging 6.9 goals, 28.9 shots, 33.7 ground balls, and 13.0 caused turnovers per game, 10th in Division III in caused turnovers.
Colby Blondin leads the team with 16 goals, 10 assists, 26 total points, and 33 ground balls, plus he has caused 16 turnovers, just one behind Conner Blair at 17 caused turnovers. Johnathan Wilcox has scored 14 goals for the Terriers, and Jacob Kendall has contributed eight goals and eight assists. Connor Lamberton has started every match in net for Thomas, posting a 13.53 goals against average and a .579 save percentage with 128 saves, currently third in the country in saves per game.
Castleton and Thomas will be meeting for the 17th time in history, with the Spartans winning the previous 16 contests. Last season in Waterville, Maine, Castleton cruised to a 14-1 victory, led by Kevin McCarthy with four goals and Lutinski with six assists. Blondin scored Thomas's only goal of the game with 3:16 remaining in the fourth period.
Kean is 9-2 overall, including 6-0 at home, and currently on a six-game winning streak after defeating SUNY Canton last Saturday, 21-4. As a team, the Cougars are averaging 11.1 goals, 38.7 shots, 33.3 ground balls, and 8.3 caused turnovers per game.
Mike Snellen leads the Cougars with 17 assists and 33 total points to go along with 16 goals. Tyler Roberto is tops on Dean in goals with 22, with Cole Blackley scoring 17 times and Jake Frankovits adding 16 goals so far this year. In net, Ryan Sieb has started seven games and posted an 8.11 goals against average and a .529 save percentage with 54 saves. Thomas Francy is undefeated in four starts, earning a 9.21 goals against average and a .567 save percentage.
This will be the ninth meeting all-time between Castleton and Kean, with the Cougars prevailing in the previous eight matches. Last season at Spartan Stadium, Kean took the early lead and then held on for a 9-5 victory, led by Brian Mills with five goals. Sam Siegel led the Spartans with one goal and two assists, while Brandon Myron made 13 saves to keep Castleton close.
After Sunday, Castleton wraps up the regular season with a home game against Johnson State (Apr. 18) and a road contest at New England College (Apr. 23).