February 28, 2018

Castleton Women's Lacrosse Voted Preseason Favorite in 2018 NAC Coaches' Poll

Castleton has been selected as the preseason favorite in the 2018 North Atlantic Conference (NAC) women's lacrosse coaches poll. The Spartans, who captured their sixth-consecutive NAC Title a season ago, received 61 points, including six of the eight first place votes, while New England College, the 2017 runner-up, was selected second with 56 points after claiming the remaining two first-place votes. Colby-Sawyer was tabbed third with 45 points, UMaine-Farmington placed fourth just four points behind the Chargers and Husson took fifth after receiving 34 points.

Rounding out the poll were Maine Maritime in sixth (25 points), Thomas in seventh (16 points), and second-year program Lyndon in eighth (10 points).

Voting for the preseason poll was conducted among the league's head women's lacrosse coaches.

2018 NAC Women's Lacrosse Preseason Coaches' Poll



Points (First Place Votes)



61 (6)


New England College

56 (2)











Maine Maritime









The top six teams in the 2018 poll competed in the NAC Championship Tournament last season. The Spartans claimed the No. 1 seed after finishing the 2017 regular season with a perfect 9-0 NAC record, while the Pilgrims finished 8-1, the Beavers went 7-2, the Chargers were 6-3, the Eagles were 5-4, and the Mariners went 4-5 in conference action.

In the quarterfinals, UMaine-Farmington earned a 15-4 victory over Maine Maritime and Colby-Sawyer claimed an 18-12 win over Husson. After earning byes in the quarterfinals, Castleton and New England College both earned close wins in the semifinals, as the Spartans beat the Chargers 15-13 and the Pilgrims snuck by the Beavers, 8-7. Castleton then rallied from a five-goal deficit early in the second half to defeat NEC 14-12 to earn the 2017 NAC Title. 

The Spartans advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the sixth-consecutive season. Unfortunately, in the first round of the national tournament the Spartans fell to Westfield State, 15-8.

All eight NAC women's lacrosse teams will kick off their 2018 campaigns within the next week. The top six teams in the regular-season conference standings will qualify for the conference tournament, which gets underway Friday, April 27, with quarterfinal action between seeds 3-6. The top two seeds will earn a bye in the first round and will take on the two quarterfinal winners in the semifinals on Sunday, April 29. The two semifinal victors will battle for the NAC championship on Saturday, May 5.

Click HERE to view the 2018 NAC Women's Lacrosse composite schedule.

2018 NAC Women's Lacrosse Previews

**For more information on each team, please click the school name to be directed to the women's lacrosse section of each school's website.


1. Castleton (12-7, 9-0 NAC) has won six-consecutive NAC Titles and will look to add one more. Mark Lange enters his first season as the head coach of the Spartans, taking over a program that has won 46 consecutive NAC regular season games. Three of Castleton's top four goal scorers in 2017 graduated, but Emily Cross (Shaftsbury, Vt.; pictured right) returns after collecting 32 goals and 25 assists last season. Erin Shuttle (Georgia, Vt.) broke through in a big way in the NAC Tournament title game last year, scoring seven goals, including the game-tying and game-winning goals, to earning Tournament MVP honors. Samantha Hebb (Ashland, Mass.) returns in net for the Spartans after making 17 saves in the NCAA First Round game against Westfield State last year. Castleton opens the 2018 season at SUNY Canton March 3 before hosting Western New England March 6. 



2. New England College (11-7, 8-1 NAC)
 has its sights set on getting back to the NAC Championship game under third-year head coach Meg Leo. The Pilgrims made it to the championship game last season before succumbing to Castleton, 14-12. The Pilgrims return Tara Bainbridge (South Hadley, Mass.; pictured right) for her junior season after tallying a NAC-leading 76 goals last season along with 33 assists for 109 points. NEC also returns its third-best scorer from last season in junior Alana Scott (Huntington, Vt.). The Pilgrims kick off the season on March 4 at Greensboro College on North Carolina, and open NAC play at home on March 17 against UMaine-Farmington. 



3. Colby-Sawyer (10-7, 6-3 NAC) will be led by Emily Hoar in 2018 who will take the place of Emily Rinde-Thorsen who is on a sabbatical after recently having a child. Hoar has been an assistant coach with the lacrosse team since 2011. Colby-Sawyer returns its top seven point-getters from last season led by All-NAC First Team honoree Nicole Lavigne (Berlin, Vt.), who led the squad with 83 points on 68 goals and 15 assists a season ago. The team also returns a pair of All-NAC Second Team honorees in junior Sierra Schuster (Hopkinton, N.H.), who recorded 58 points, and last year's NAC Rookie of the Year in Brittany Ireland (Amherst, N.H.) who finished third on the team with 45 points. On the defensive end of the field, All-NAC Second Team honoree senior Courtney Lampert (Derry, N.H.; pictured right) will anchor the Colby-Sawyer backline. In addition to the great crop of returners, the team will look for contributions from nine newcomers. The Chargers will be tested in the first month of the schedule with nine consecutive road games to begin the season before hosting Nichols on March 29. The conference slate will start on March 17 at Husson, a team the Chargers defeated twice last season. 




4. UMaine-Farmington (10-4, 7-2 NAC) will see Beth Lebel at the helm for her second season. Key returners for the Beavers include, Carly Raymond (Topsham, Maine; pictured right), Sierra Gilley (Harpswell, Maine), Samantha Cross (Bennington, Vt.), Keilly Lynch (Lyman, Maine), and Heather Boland (Griswold, Conn.). UMF will be playing a different non-conference line-up to help prepare for conference action and the team will look to be contenders for a tournament spot. 


5. Husson (6-7, 5-4 NAC)
will be led by first-year head coach and former Division I athlete Dorian Gilmartin-Dzitko. The 2018 Eagles will return six players from last year's squad and with a talented incoming freshman class will look to capture their first NAC Championship since 2011. Husson will be led by a pair of 2017 Second Team All-NAC choices in senior midfielder Amanda Deshaies (Wells, Maine; pictured right) and sophomore attacker Makenna Mont (Freetown, Mass.). Expectations run high once again as the Eagles embark on their tenth season and will open up that campaign on the road versus in state rival Saint Joseph's (Maine) on March 3. 


6. Maine Maritime (6-8, 4-5 NAC) will be under the leadership of Amy Blanchard who enters her first season at the helm of the Mariners' squad. Sierra James (Campton, N.H.; pictured right) returns for her junior season after ranking third in the NAC last season in goals allowed, while sophomore Madison Barry (Stoneham, Mass.) returns after leading the Mariners in assists last season. After a record-breaking 2017 campaign, the Mariners are looking to build on last season's success and return to the NAC Tournament for the second-straight season. The team opens up their season on March 3 against Wheelock before heading to New York for the Fourth Annual Maritime Classic. Along with a talented group of returners, the Mariners also welcome some newcomers who are sure to make an immediate impact. 




7. Thomas (3-10, 3-6 NAC) will be led by second-year head coach Peri West. The Terriers return key players with sophomore goaltender Sydni Collier (Oakland, Maine), senior Kimberly Banks (Swan's Island, Maine; pictured right), senior Cassidy West (Vassalboro, Maine). In her first season in goal, Collier started in all 13 games, averaging 9.1 saves per game. Midfielders Banks and West combined for ten points on the season along with 46 ground balls and 33 caused turnovers. Thomas will look to fight for a bid in the NAC Tournament with the team's young squad. The Terriers open their 2018 season on Wednesday, March 7, as they host Saint Joseph's (Maine). 




8. Lyndon (2-9, 2-7 NAC) will be guided by first year head coach Emily Stearns. Key returnees include leading scorers Mikayla Hodge (Newbury, Vt.), Taylor Cavaliero (Somers, N.J.), and Felisha Olmstead (St. Johnsbury, Vt.; pictured right), along with midfielders Libby Start (Randolph, Vt.) and Anna Gear (Fort Myers, Fla.) and defenders Amanda Hadley (Rutland, Vt.) and Gwyn Stahl (Whitinsville, Mass.). The Hornets are entering their second season as a program and look to have strong leadership with six returning seniors, along with several newcomers who will be counted on to contribute right away. Coach Stearns expects great things for the season.