Nelligan Scores Hat Trick as Terriers Drop NAC Opener at Castleton

Nelligan Scores Hat Trick as Terriers Drop NAC Opener at Castleton

Release courtesy of Castleton sports information

CASTLETON, Vt. – Senior Erin Nelligan (Walpole, Mass. / Walpole) scored three times to lead the Thomas women's lacrosse team in a 20-4 loss at Castleton to open the North Atlantic Conference season.

Brianna MacKay racked up a career-high eight points on five goals and three assists in the win for the 4-3 (1-0 NAC) Spartans, while teammate Chantel Wilkinchipped in with three goals and an assist of her own. Grace Johnson and Hannah Braman each recorded two goals and two assists in the win, and Meghan Els made 13 saves in 45 minutes of play to collect her fourth win of the season.

Nelligan's three goals were a season-high, while Samantha Greenlaw netted her seventh goal of the season in the contest. Brittany Fox shouldered the loss for the Terriers (0-4, 0-1 NAC) in goal, making eight saves in 46:03 of action.

Castleton outshot the opposition 32-26, putting 28 shots on goal in total. The Spartans also collected more ground balls (18-11) and more draw controls (16-9) in the victory, while converting 92.3 percent of their clear attempts to Thomas' 60 percent.

Four Spartans scored their first career goals in the game, as Erin McKenna, Megan Wood, Holly Downing and Clancy Farrand contributed to the Castleton win.

Thomas struck first in the game, as Nelligan found the back of the net with a nifty backhand goal just more than three minutes into the game. The Spartans answered right back, tallying eight consecutive goals over the course of 10 minutes, including four goals from MacKay over that span. A Terrier goal with 13:41 to play in the half ended the Castleton run, but the Spartans ripped off seven straight scores to send them into the half with a 15-2 lead.

The Spartans controlled the second half, as Castleton once more dominated the time of possession en route to outscoring the Terriers 5-2 over the final 30 minutes of play.

Wilkin opened the second-half scoring just 58 seconds in, before Johnson and Ashley Pelkey pushed the Spartans' lead to 18-2 with 22:50 remaining. After more than 10 minutes of scoreless play between the two sides, Nelligan netted her second of the game for Thomas to make it 18-3. After Pelkey's second goal of the game made it 19-3, the two sides traded goals before the end of the game, giving the contest its final score of 20-4.

Thomas returns to action on Wednesday when it hosts Maine Maritime Academy in a 7:00 p.m. contest. Castleton is idle until Saturday, April 2, when it travels Maine-Farmington for a 2:00 p.m. contest.