CASTLETON, Vt. – It took just 35 seconds for the Spartans to take control on Tuesday as the top seed dominated Husson with a 12-0 lead at the half on the way to an 18-2 victory in the semifinals of the North Atlantic Conference Tournament.
Castleton advanced to its third straight NAC Title game by scoring seven times in the opening ten minutes to end any chance of an upset. The 8-6 Spartans will now host second-seeded Thomas on Saturday for a chance to represent the conference in the NCAA National Tournament.
Leading the potent attack on Tuesday was newly minted NAC Player of the Year Kate Auer. The junior scored a team-high four goals and dished off three assists while also registering three ground balls, three draw controls and two caused turnovers. Maddy DaCosta added four goals on five shots. Sophomore Rachel Bombardier was impressive in net, shutting out Husson in the first half by making six saves in earning the win.
For the Eagles, Alissa Fallon and Michaela Bicknell each scored once. Rashell Saucier picked up a game-high six draw controls while also grabbing four ground balls and causing three turnovers.
Kim Gosselin put Castleton on the board at 29:25 with an unassisted goal and then fed Auer for the 2-0 lead three minutes in. Five more goals over the next seven minutes made it 7-0 and the Spartans scored five goals over the final 20 minutes of the half to take a 12-0 advantage into the break.
Bicknell put Husson on the board at 28:21, but goals from Auer, DaCosta and Grace Johnson pushed the lead to 15-1 with 23:50 left. Chantel Wilkin made it 16-1 with 20:59 remaining. DaCosta and Sarah Clark concluded the scoring with eight minutes left and the Eagles added their second goal in the last 75 seconds for the 18-2 final.
Gosselin finished the game with three goals and one assist while Grace Johnson scored twice with an assist. Emilee Maher led the defense with four caused turnovers and also had a pair of ground balls.
Hayley Thibeau took the loss for Husson after allowing all 18 goals and making six saves. Meghan Els played the second half in net and allowed two goals while stopping five shots.
The Spartans will now face off against Thomas Saturday evening in the NAC Championship at Spartan Stadium.