Castleton Advances to Fourth-Straight NEWLA Final

CASTLETON, Vt. – Angelica Mazzola (Centerport, N.Y.) and Marie Van Der Kar each pumped in five goals as Castleton State College withstood a furious second-half comeback by Fitchburg State University to win 17-13 in a New England Women's Lacrosse Alliance (NEWLA) semifinal Wednesday evening at Spartan Stadium.

Castleton had everything working in the first half as the Spartans raced out to a 10-3 lead at halftime. After falling behind 1-0 on a Jessica Bartlett (Marlborough, Mass.) tally, Mazzola answered with two in a row to take an early lead. Amanda Burns (Weymouth, Mass.) tied the score at 2-2 with just over 20 minutes left in the opening half, but Van Der Kar answered with three-straight of her own, starting a 9-1 Spartan run that pushed the lead to 11-3 at one point early in the second half.

Castleton maintained at least a five-goal margin until the 13:23 mark in the second half when Jill Shaner (Arlington, Mass.) started a five-goal outburst over the next 11 minutes from the Falcons that sliced the deficit to 15-13. Burns keyed the surge, scoring three of her game-high six goals, but a pair of Liz Haggerty (Centerport, N.Y.) goals inside of 20 seconds put the game away.

Mazzola added a pair of assists for a team-high seven points, and Van Der Kar added six ground balls, four draw controls and four caused turnovers. Haggerty finished with a pair of goals, while Blake Wardwell (Woodstock, Vt.) and Stephanie Paproski (Newtown, Conn.) each turned in one-goal, one-assist performances. Amanda Flodstrom (Stratham, N.H.) and Taryn Smith (Southbury, Conn.) rounded out the Spartan scoring with one goal apiece.

Burns added four assists for a huge 10-point performance. Samantha Bonasera (Cehlsea, Vt.) posted three goals and a game-high six draw controls, while Bartlett and Shaner each finished with two goals.

Freshman goalie Ashly Neal (York Beach, Maine) made 13 saves in the win, while Dylana Drolette (Burlington, Vt.) stopped 11 shots in the loss.

Fitchburg State's season ends at 12-3.

With the win, the Spartans improve to 12-4 and advances to the NEWLA Final where they will face top-seeded Bridgewater State for the fourth-straight season. The Bears have won the last three-consecutive NEWLA Titles.