CASTLETON, Vt. – The Spartans scored just 1:08 into the contest and never looked back as they won their fourth consecutive North Atlantic Conference Championship with a 16-3 victory over Thomas on a beautiful afternoon at Spartan Stadium.
Castleton dominated from start to finish to earn their 15th consecutive victory and advance to the NCAA Tournament for the fourth straight year. The Spartans outshot Thomas 40-16 in the contest and picked up 17 of the game's 21 draw controls.
Five different players recorded at least three points for Castleton, led by Mariah Lesure with two goals, four assists and four draw controls. NAC Tournament MVP Brandi Whittemore added four goals and four ground balls while Kate Auer scored three times and grabbed ten draw controls.
For Thomas, Jennifer Day had a hand in all three goals, with two scores and one assist while causing two turnovers. Toral Nelson scored the third Terrier goal.
Whittemore put Castleton in front just 1:08 into the contest, scoring right in front off a feed from Lesure. Grace Johnson extended the lead to 2-0 at 21:39 and 1:39 later DaCosta netted a goal from Brianna MacKay to make it a three-goal game. MacKay scored with 17:24 left and Day got Thomas on the board with 16:09 remaining to cut it to 4-1.
Just 20 seconds later Whittemore extended the lead to four goals. Auer added a pair of goals in a 25 second span and MacKay scored with 10:01 left to make it 8-1. Castleton outscored Thomas 2-1 over the final ten minutes for a 10-2 lead at the break.
Auer and Johnson scored in the opening four minutes of the second half for the 10-goal lead. Lesure, Hannah Braman and Nadine Downing extended the Spartan advantage to 15-2 before Toral Nelson ended the run at 8:53. Whittmore ended the scoring with 2:30 left for the final margin.
Allie McCarthy took the loss for the Terriers but was solid with 18 saves between the pipes. Thomas concludes its season at 8-4 overall.
In addition to Whittemore, Lesure, Tiffany Danyow and Rachel Bombardier were named to the NAC All-Tournament Team for Castleton. McCarthy, Day and Brittany Premo were named to the All-Tournament Team for Thomas.
Castleton now advances to the NCAA Tournament, and will find out their opposition during the selection show on Sunday night at 9:30 pm.
Michaela Bicknell - Husson
Matt Russell - Husson
Sara Berry - Colby-Sawyer
Caitlyn Wheartly - Colby-Sawyer
Allie McCarthy - Thomas
Brittany Premo - Thomas
Jennifer Day - Thomas
Tiffany Danyow - Castleton
Rachel Bombardier - Castleton
Mariah Lesure - Castleton
Brandi Whittemore - Castleton - MVP