Castleton Topples Norwich in Overtime

NORTHFIELD, VT. An in-state battle between North Athletic Conference standout Castleton State and Great Northeast Athletic Conference power Norwich was a thriller to the finish May 2.

The visiting Spartans, moving to 11-6, used a rebounded goal off the stick of sophomore midfielder Blake Wardwell just four seconds from the end of the first overtime period to claim a 10-9 non-conference clash from the Cadets (14-1). Norwich had an opportunity in the final seconds of the second three-minute extra session when senior midfielder Kacey Abbriano (Hicksville, N.Y.) hammered a free position attempt at CSC goalkeeper Kelsey MacDonald. However, MacDonald pinned it to the ground for the winning save.

The ending was much like the earlier portions. The two teams traded leads throughout the first frame and were tied 6-6 at the break. Behind a pair of player-advantage goals in the second stanza, the visitors reeled off a three-goal run to go up 9-6 midway through. Norwich battled back with three scores of its own for a 9-9 tie and had four good looks at CSC's goal, three of which were thwarted by MacDonald in the final 7:28 of regulation.

Things couldn't have been much more even between the two in-state rivals. Castleton held a 34-28 shots advantage, while NU had five more ground ball pick-ups and was successful on five more clear attempts (28-23). Senior goalkeeper Meghan Kennedy (Lowell, Mass.) had one more save than MacDonald by a 12-11 count.

Sophomore midfielder Grace Fitzpatrick (Falmouth, Maine) led the Maroon and Gold offense with four goals, recording her 13th straight multiple-goal effort. Senior midfielder Mollie Fitzpatrick (Falmouth, Maine) turned in a multiple-score contest as well with three. Wardell topped the Spartans with three goals including the game winner.

Norwich now awaits its opponent in the 2012 NCAA Division III tournament with the selection announcement Sunday, May 6. Castleton State prepares for its automatic national qualifying tournament showdown with Morrisville State in the NAC finale Saturday, May 5.

Game Notes Two long streaks closed with the defeat. Norwich's 19-game home field win streak was snapped as was Abbriano's run of 25 straight multiple-goal games. The Maroon and Gold's last home loss came to Assumption during the 2009 campaign. ... Thursday's outcome was no surprise to the recent series history. Castleton State has captured three straight one-goal wins from the Cadets.


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