UTICA, N.Y. -- For the second year in a row, Utica won its first round game and will advance to in the NCAA tournament. The Pioneers topped visiting Castleton State 3-1 on Wednesday evening at Charles A. Gaetano Stadium to advance to the second round where they will take on host Middlebury at 11 a.m. Saturday.
Three different players scored on the day for UC including sophomore Colleen Dowling and juniors Louise Steele-Norton and Hannah Mackey. Dowling and Steele-Norton also had one assist each and Angela Charles added her fifth helper of the year to pace the Pioneers. The Pioneers were able to jump out to a 3-0 lead in the course of the first 41 minutes and they never looked back, improving to 17-4 overall on the year.
After trailing 3-0, Castleton was able to get one on the board in the 47th minute as leading scorer Rachel Preusser netted her 26th goal of the season. However, sophomore Kells Casey did not allow another goal as she made ten saves for her UC record, 17th win this season.
The Pioneers outshot Castleton 20-14 on the day, and each team had 12 corner opportunities. Jessica Galatioto had 13 saves in net for Castleton, but it was not enough as the Spartans wrap up their season with a 14-7 record.
"I thought our team speed with the ball was a key for us today, our passing was solid for portions of the game as well and we took advantage of the corner opportunities when they were presented to us," head coach Sarah Elleman said. "Castleton State was a good opponent for us today and we are just thrilled to be able to move for the second straight season. "
The 2013 Pioneers became the first team at Utica to score more than 200 points in a single season.
Utica (17-4) will now head to Middlebury, Vt., for the next two rounds of play. The Pioneers take on host and No. 3 seed Middlebury on Saturday. The winner will advance to take on the winner of the Skidmore-Keene State match up.