CASTLETON, Vt. – The Castleton University volleyball team enters a busy stretch of four matches in a five-day span, all on the road, starting with a crucial North Atlantic Conference contest at Green Mountain Tuesday, Oct. 10, starting at 7 p.m.
After coming back from Poultney Tuesday night, the Spartans travel to North Adams, Mass., for a non-conference contest against MCLA Thursday, Oct. 12, at 7 p.m. Castleton concludes the week by heading to Castine, Maine, Saturday, Oct. 14, to take on NAC foes Husson at 12 noon and Maine Maritime at 4 p.m.
Castleton improved its overall record to 4-10 with a sweep of the Lyndon Hornets last Friday night at Glenbrook Gym. The Spartans collected a season-high 23 service aces, led by Meghan Zawatsky with nine aces, Jess Grace with seven aces, and Maria Jackson with five aces to go along with 11 assists and seven digs.
With her sixth and final kill of Friday's match, senior Kimberly Jackson became the ninth player in Castleton history to earn at least 300 kills in her career. Jackson is also sixth on the Spartan all-time digs list with 434, and she is one of six Castleton volleyball players to accumulate at least 300 kills and 350 digs during their Spartan career.
Green Mountain enters Tuesday's match with a 3-9 overall record after splitting two home matches Saturday, defeating Johnson State, 3-0, and losing to SUNY Delhi, 3-0. Like the Spartans, the Eagles are 0-2 within the NAC, with both teams losing to New England College and Colby-Sawyer on Sept. 30.
Estela Felix Almeida leads Green Mountain with 95 kills and 29 service aces, plus she is second on the team with 107 digs, just behind Madison Wheeler with 109 digs. Bryanna Hopple has collected a team-high 125 assists, and Sharena Armstrong has defended the net with 16 total blocks, including 11 solo blocks.
Castleton improved its all-time record over Green Mountain to 20-9 on Sept. 23, extending its winning streak over the Eagles to 12 matches with a 3-1 victory at Glenbrook Gym. Shannon Manchester and Kimberly Jackson led the Spartans with eight kills apiece, while Maria Jackson notched a double-double with 31 assists and 15 digs. Almeida paced the Eagles with 14 kills and 14 digs.
MCLA enters the week with a 5-13 overall record after losing at Sage last Wednesday, 3-0. The Trailblazers play a conference match at Westfield State Tuesday night before hosting the Spartans on Thursday.
Brooke Queripel leads the Trailblazers with 125 kills and is second on the squad with 18 service aces. Natasha Stewart leads MCLA with 151 total assists, followed by Tessa Sestito with 121 assists to go along with a team-high 19 aces. Defensively, Brianne O'Rourke leads the team at the net with 27 total blocks, and Mele Enomoto paces the backline with 262 digs.
MCLA improved its record against Castleton to 11-1 with a 3-0 victory over the Spartans on Sept. 9 in East Longmeadow, Mass. Zawatsky collected two kills, two assists, two aces, and nine digs for the Spartans, while Maggie Allen led the Trailblazers with five kills and three total blocks along with two aces.
Husson enters the week with an 11-9 overall record, including a 2-0 mark within the NAC. The Eagles travel to Maine-Machias Wednesday night before Saturday's conference matches. Bailey Cote leads the team with 105 kills and 29 total blocks, and setter Hanna Hembrow has contributed 299 assists, 37 service aces, and 103 digs.
Husson leads the all-time series over Castleton, 10-3. After the Spartans won three matches in a row over the Eagles from 2013 to 2015, Husson snapped that streak on Oct. 1, 2016, with a 3-0 victory over Castleton. Cassidy Tedeschi led the Spartans with seven kills, 13 digs, and two solo blocks, while Cote led the Eagles with 10 kills on 12 attempts for an .833 hitting percentage as well as six total blocks.
Maine Maritime starts the week with a 12-9 overall record, including a 2-0 record in NAC competition. The Mariners host Maine-Presque Isle Wednesday night before Saturday's conference contests. Alexa Cacacie leads the team with 208 kills and 40 total blocks, plus she is second on the squad with 44 service aces, while setter Sydney Adams has contributed 569 assists, 53 kills, 32 service aces, 124 digs, and 27 total blocks.
This will be the 17th meeting all-time between Maine Maritime and Castleton, with the Mariners winning the previous 16 contests, allowing the Spartans to win just two sets total. In last year's meeting at Glenbrook Gym, J'Leen Diaz led Castleton with five kills and four digs, while Tess Clark led the Mariners with 11 kills and six service aces.
After Saturday's contests, Castleton plays its final home match of the season against SUNY Cobleskill Tuesday, Oct. 17, starting at 7 p.m. It will be the annual Dig Pink match to raise awareness about breast cancer as well as Senior Night.