CASTLETON, Vt. – The Spartans won their program-record 13th consecutive game and led for the final 25 minutes of action as they took down Keene St. 17-13 on Tuesday evening at Spartan Stadium in their regular season finale.
Castleton fell into a 2-0 hole in the opening 3:30 but came back firing with six straight goals to take the lead for good as the team improved to 14-2 overall. The Spartans outshot the Owls 30-27 and recorded 17 draw controls in the victory. Keene St. grabbed 15 draw controls but turned it over 29 times as they dropped to 4-11.
Senior Kate Auer was dominant with a team-high 10 draw controls while also leading all scorers with five goals and one assist. Brianna Mackay also had six points, on four goals and two assists, while Brandi Whittemore recorded three goals, one assist, six ground balls, four caused turnovers and three draw controls. Freshman Nadine Downing chipped in with a career-high five caused turnovers on defense.
Jenna Bellano led the Owls with four points on three goals and one assist while also picking up seven draw controls and two ground balls. Kaitlin Nolan added three goals and one assist with four draw controls and two caused turnovers while Christ Demovellan registered two goals and two assists.
Keene St. took a 1-0 lead just 1:53 into the contest on a goal by Polly Grey, and Demovellan extended the lead to 2-0 at 26:34. MacKay put the Spartans on the board just 20 seconds later and Auer tied it up 2-2 off a feed from MacKay 14 seconds after that. Maddy DaCosta gave Castleton a 3-2 lead with 25:14 left and Whittemore scored twice in a two-minute span to extend the Spartan advantage to 5-2 with 22:58 left. Auer pushed it to 6-2 two minutes later, prompting a Keene St. timeout.
The Owls came out with three straight goals in less than three minutes and make it a one-goal game on Nolan's first of the contest at 17:17. Auer scored 15 seconds later and MacKay added another for the 8-5 advantage. Taylor Farland answered with two straight goals but Castleton countered with two more for a 10-7 lead with seven minutes left. Each team scored once more in the half with the final tally coming on a shot from Mariah Lesure with just nine seconds before the break.
The teams traded goals over the first 11 minutes of the second half, leaving the Spartans still in front, 13-9. Nolan scored at 19:24 to make it a three-goal contest, but goals by Auer, DaCosta and Hannah Braman over the next eight minutes stretched the Castleton lead to 16-10. Keene St. scored three times in the final 9:20 of the half, but it was too little too late as a goal from Chantel Wilkin provided the final 17-13 margin.
Junior Meghan Els earned the start in net and took the win as she made three saves in the opening 30 minutes. Classmate Rachel Bombardier played the second half and made six saves while allowing five goals. Alison Argiro played the first 52:40 in net for the Owls and took loss as she made seven saves while allowing 17 goals.
The Spartans return to action on Wednesday, April 29 when they play in the North Atlantic Conference Semifinals at a time to be determined.