Skip to navigation Skip to content Skip to footer
Castleton Spartans

Castleton Picked to Win Third-Straight NEAC East Title

CASTLETON, Vt. – After consecutive North East Athletic Conference (NEAC) Championships, the Castleton women's tennis team has high expectations this fall. Led by senior and two-time NEAC East Player of the Year Michelle Podnecky (Bridgewater, Vt.), the Spartans are the prohibitive favorite to make it out of the NEAC East Division and once again challenge for the conference crown and automatic bid to the NCAA Championships next spring.

Second-year head coach Rob Purdy is confident in his team's abilities. "As always we'll strive to win the East Division title and reach the NEAC title game. Our top returning players give us a strong lineup and though we have to replace a pair of singles and doubles positions we have experienced newcomers who should make a smooth transition."

2011 NEAC East
Women's Tennis Coaches' Poll

Castleton State College has been selected to win its third-straight North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) East Division Title in a poll of the conference coaches. Led by two-time NEAC East Player of the Year Michelle Podnecky, the Spartans received 23 points and three first place votes.

Podnecky went 11-2 at first singles last season, and is joined by doubles partner and number-two singles player Kate Bucci who was also named to the NEAC East All-Conference First Team.

New to the conference in 2011 and finishing just behind Castleton in the poll is Colby-Sawyer. The Chargers received two first-place votes and tallied 20 points overall. Claire Toffey and Liz Lincoln each garnered all-conference honors a season ago in the Commonwealth Coast Conference and look to lead a young Charger squad.

During the 2009 season, North Atlantic Conference (NAC) members began play in the North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) as associate members in the East Division. Each division will hold a championship and the two divisional champions will meet for a three game series to determine the conference champion. The conference winner will earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Championship. Castleton has represented the NEAC in the NCAA National Tournament in each of the first two seasons of this alignment.

Rk
Team
Votes
1
Castleton
23 (3)
2
Colby-Sawyer
20 (2)
3
Lyndon
14
4
Johnson St.
12
5
Thomas
6

Purdy's list of top returners begins with the women at No. 1 and No. 2 singles. Podnecky stepped in the No. 1 singles position as a freshman and flourished, posting a 34-4 singles record over her first three seasons, including an 11-2 mark last season.  In addition to being a two-time first-team all-conference selection in singles, Podnecky has been named first team in doubles with classmate Kate Bucci (Wakefield, R.I.) each of the past two seasons. Last year the two teamed up to go 14-1 at No. 1 doubles, with their only loss coming to Skidmore in the NCAA Championships. Bucci was almost as impressive in singles, earning first-team All-NEAC honors for the second time after going 10-3 in the second position.

In addition to the seniors, juniors Chelsea Crehan (Essex, Conn.), Lauren Fedorka (Temple, N.H.) and Erica Bilodeau (Castleton, N.Y.) are expected to contribute for the Spartans. Crehan played the majority of her matches at No. 5 singles last season, earning first-team All-NEAC honors with her 11-1 mark. She also went 9-4 at No. 2 doubles. Fedorka and Bildoeau, meanwhile, add depth to the squad and expect to challenge for one of the open singles and doubles spots.

To compliment the returners, Purdy welcomes three newcomers to the program in junior transfer Brittany Quattrocci, and freshmen Felica West of West Rutland high school and Olga McIntyre of Burr & Burton Academy.

"Our ultimate goal is to reach the NCAA Championships and bring with us the experience we gained in our first two trips. I expect our women to compete at the highest level in both our conference and non-conference schedule."

The team opens their fall schedule with a home match against Plattsburgh St. on Sept. 4 before hitting the road for three matches, including an NEAC battle with Thomas. The Spartans will also have the opportunity to avenge last season's losses to Colby Sawyer and also take on Union before the NEAC playoffs on Oct. 15.