GETTYSBURG – The York College women's lacrosse team saw its memorable 2015 season come to a close on Sunday with a 10-8 loss to No. 6 Middlebury College in an NCAA Division III regional championship game.
The 12th-ranked Spartans finished at 15-6, while Middlebury improved to 16-3 and advanced to the national semifinals.
York opened the game in strong fashion and held a 3-2 edge after Katelyn Cattrano's goal with 14 minutes, 25 seconds left in the first half. Middlebury, however, scored seven of the next eight goals to take a 9-4 lead with 19:39 left in the game.
Despite the five-goal deficit, however, York head coach Jen Muston said her team was determined to fight back.
"We've never been a team to quit playing," she said. "We're always going to play to the end no matter what. Our players understand that lacrosse is a game of waves and there's no reason to stop playing, because you can go on a run and erase a deficit very quickly."
The Spartans did go on a run and finished the game by outscoring Middlebury, 4-1, but the comeback fell short.
Middlebury finished the game with a 12-8 advantage in draw controls, while York held the advantage in shots (23-20) and caused turnovers (6-3). Rachel Donovan made seven saves for the Spartans, one shy of tying her career-high.
Jayme Verman led York with two goals and an assist, while Allison Kolacy added a goal and two assists and Cattrano finished with two goals.
Historical season: York closes out a year in which it hit multiple historical milestones. The Spartans embarked on its 10th season of competition in 2015 and recorded its 100th win as a program on March 7 in a 9-7 win at home over No. 18 Ithaca College.
Senior defender Karlie Dougherty made significant historical contributions to the program. She became the first player in program history to be named the Capital Athletic Conference Player of the Year and became the first first-team Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Association All-American. Following Saturday's win over No. 5 Gettysburg College, the Spartans earned their first trip to an NCAA regional championship and it was the first win in program history over a top-five ranked opponent. Also, York's 15 wins this season ties a program record set last season.
"Coming into the season, on paper, this was not the most talented (team) that I've had at York, but they evolved into the best team I've ever had as the season progressed," Muston said. "They put the time and effort in to getting better, but they became the best team because they truly believed we could make it this far, and they backed it up. That's what sets this team apart."
Two seniors to be missed: The Spartan women's lacrosse program must say goodbye to two seniors who leave as the most successful senior class in program history. The duo of Sarah Castle and Dougherty have compiled a record of 58-21 (.734 winning percentage), led York to four-straight CAC title game appearances, four-straight appearances in the NCAA Sweet 16 and the program's first NCAA regional championship appearance.
Castle leaves York as the program's all-time leader in games started and games played. She has started all 77 games of her career. She ranks sixth on the program's all-time scoring list with 124 points on 103 goals and 21 assists. She ranks fourth all-time in goals. Castle is a two-time first-team All-CAC selection and a two-time first-team IWLCA All-Metro Region Selection.
"Sarah is the heart of this team and everything falls into place because of her attitude and her mentality," Muston said. "When things are going well, she is the first one to celebrate, and when times are tough she is the first one to step up and lead the pack by doing whatever she can to contribute.
"Karlie is the guts of the team and her work ethic on the field is evidence of that. She plays with so much passion and she is all over the field trying to make things happen for us."