It’s often said that past season’s successes can’t be brought over to the following year, however, when that team is returning the three-time North Atlantic Conference (NAC) Player of the Year, as well as nine starters from its 2010 NAC Championship team, expectations are high.
Such is the story for the Castleton women’s soccer team, which, led by senior Courtney Chadburn (North Clarendon, Vt.) appears to have many of the tools in place to repeat as league champions and earn the program’s second straight trip to the NCAA Tournament.
The Spartans were dominant in 2010, using a potent offense and a suffocating defense to turn in one of the finest seasons in school history.
The team tied the program record with 16 victories, posted the best winning percentage in school history (.825) and didn’t lose an NAC match, going 6-0-1 in the regular season and 2-0 in the playoffs. The perfect mark also extended the Spartans’ regular season conference unbeaten streak to 16 contests, stretching all the way back to October 2008 in Rutland County.
This season with his nine returning starters, head coach Chris Chapdelaine is confident that his team, one which led the NAC in scoring and goals-against-average last year, can fulfill preseason expectations. “I feel like we could win every game this season. I’m not just saying that, and if we play to our potential this could be an awesome year for our program.”
Chapdelaine should get plenty of support from Chadburn, an ECAC All-New England selection a year ago and three-time NAC Player of the Year. The forward was an offense catalyst for the Spartans, leading the team and the conference in points (50) and goals (21) and finishing second in the NAC in assists. Chadburn also ranked 14th nationally with 2.63 points per game and 16th in goals per game (1.11). On the receiving end of a number of her assists last year was Hillary Cooke (Marlborough, Conn.). Cooke, a transfer from AIC, made a splash in her first season with the team, as she was named first-team All-NAC and finished second in the league behind Chadburn in points (38) and goals (17).
Though the offense ranked 16th in the country in scoring (3.35 per game) the defense was equally strong, allowing 16 goals the entire season with just two scores in nine conference contests.
Junior Erika Davis (Cambridge, Vt.) was the back line of defense for the team, starting all 20 games in net for the Spartans and earning first-team All-NAC honors. Davis registered a 0.80 goals-against-average and also had a .852 save percentage while improving her career record to 23-6-3 at Castleton. In front of Davis was a stout defense led by senior Kelly Tetreault (Tolland, Conn.). Tetreault was a second-team all-NAC honoree in 2010 and was also named the MVP of the NAC Tournament as the Spartans captured the league title. Chapdelaine also expects strong play in the midfield from senior Kelly Gerkem (Scottsville, N.Y.).
With such a battle tested team, Chapdelaine put together a tough non-conference schedule in order to prepare the team for what lies ahead. In the season opener on Sept. 1, the Spartans look to avenge last year’s loss to RPI when they open their season against the Engineers in Troy, N.Y. A week later the team defends its home turf against Plattsburgh in a Thursday night game under the lights. Castleton also has tough non-conference match-ups with Plymouth St. and Keene St. before heading into conference play against Lyndon on Sept. 17.