CASTLETON, Vt. – The women's lacrosse team (5-2) traveled to Castleton State (6-3) on Wednesday for a non-conference game versus the Spartans under the lights at Spartans Stadium. In an overtime battle with their in-state rivals, the Cadets faced a 14-13 loss.
Norwich's junior captain Kacey Abbriano tallied four goals in the game, as freshman Courtney Saheim recorded two goals and four assists. Classmate Grace Fitzpatrick found the back of the net twice and earned one assist, while juniors Danielle Del Dotto and Lindsey Mathias each scored a pair.
Protecting the pipes throughout the 66-minute battle, senior Kellie Pickel made 11 saves for Norwich.
The home team opened the scoring just under two minutes into the game, when senior Marie Van Der Kar found the back of the net on an unassisted drive. She quickly reached hat-trick status with back-to-back goals, creating an offensive attack the Cadets have yet to see in their last few conference games.
Norwich answered back on their next play as Saheim ran into the Spartans zone and scored on an unassisted effort to put Norwich on the board.
After Castleton made it a 5-1 game, Norwich called a timeout. Saheim took control of the play as soon as they were back on the field and drove to net. With the ball knocked out of her stick just outside the crease, she outworked her defender to flick the ball past Castleton's goalie to tally her second goal of the night.
Abbriano received a pass from Saheim to hit the top-right corner for a point, as Whitaker made the next play for the Cadets, as the visitors worked to close the gap on the Spartans with the game at 5-3.
The game became 7-4 on Castleton's free position shot taken by senior Elizabeth Haggerty. A second free position shot by freshman Sarah Clark put Norwich at a four-goal deficit at the half.
After Castleton tallied another goal at the start of the second half, Del Dotto answered back on a fast drive, beating Castleton's goalie on her left side. On their next play in the Spartans' zone, Saheim rounded the net to find Fitzpatrick open in front.
The Spartans kept it a four-goal game, as junior Angelica Mazzola scored on an unassisted effort on the following play.
After two unsuccessful free position attempts by Norwich, Mathias held on to the possession and tallied her first goal of the game, staging a Cadets comeback. Abbriano scored less than a minute later, followed by Mathias again as she grabbed her second goal in as many minutes.
Van Der Kar stretched the home team's advantage back to two goals, as the scoreboard read 11-9 midway through the second half. Abbriano brought it back, netting her 22nd goal of the season and keeping the Cadets close in the battle.
The back and forth battle continued as Spartans' Mazzola scored her second of the game. Junior Stephanie Paproski shot a low grounder past Pickel, giving the hosts a three-goal advantage.
Del Dotto, on an unassisted effort, came around the net to hit one top-shelf as Castleton's goalie couldn't react in time to make the block. Minutes later, carrying the ball through Castleton's zone, Abbriano scored on a sniper to close that gap to one.
Fitzpatrick, with just over two minutes remaining in the game, tied it up at 13-all and with a huge save by Pickel on the Spartans' free position attempt with 19 seconds on the clock, the two teams were forced into overtime.
Playing two three-minute halves, a golden goal wouldn't be the decision maker. Both teams battled for six more minutes on the field, but it was Castleton who came out on top as freshman Blake Wardwell scored the winning goal.
The women's lacrosse team is scheduled to host Simmons College on Saturday at 1 p.m. for their long-awaited home-opener at Howard Field. Stay tuned to www.norwichathletics.edu for up-to-date location and game times.