CASTLETON, Vt. – Castleton University took the early lead and never looked back, cruising to a 20-1 victory over Johnson State College Wednesday night in a North Atlantic Conference men's lacrosse match at Spartan Stadium.
With the victory, the Spartans improved to 9-6 overall, clinching their 14th consecutive winning season. In addition, Castleton remains atop the NAC standings at 6-0, setting up a battle for the regular season title Monday, April 23, at New England College.
Kevin McCarthy led Castleton with a season-high five goals, while Kyle Lutinski continued to involve his teammates, finishing with one goal and four assists. Jason Sedell and Wyatt Pickrell each earned two goals and one assist, and Tyler Crowningshield and Nick Aleksonis added two goals apiece to the winning effort.
McCarthy completed his hat trick in the first period, scoring three of the first four goals as Castleton took a 4-0 lead into the second period. The Spartans erupted for nine goals in the second period, with McCarthy scoring twice and Lutinski assisting on three straight Spartan tallies over the span of two minutes.
Johnson State (0-7, 0-4 NAC) finally broke through thanks to a goal by Tyler Cirillo 3:46 into the third period. The Badgers held the Spartans scoreless until the final seconds of the period, when Pickrell set up Colin Clark for a goal on the extra-man opportunity, one of six goals Castleton scored with the man advantage on eight opportunities.
The Spartans closed out the game with six goals in the fourth period, including consecutive goals by Aleksonis, the first multiple-goal game of his career. In total, Castleton took 55 shots, including 34 shots on goal, collected 42 ground balls, went 9-for-11 on clearing attempts, and committed just 15 turnovers.
Dakota Jones started the game in net for Castleton and made two saves in the first half as he picked up the victory, while Maxx Ingison earned two saves of his own in the second half. Patrick Bell collected 14 saves, 10 of them in the first half, as he continually faced shots from the Spartan offense.
Castleton (9-6, 6-0) heads to Henniker, N.H., to face New England College Monday, April 23, at 7 p.m. Later that night, the Spartans will find out their seeding in the North Atlantic Conference Tournament.