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Updated: Tuesday, 10 May 2011, 9:52 PM EDT
Published : Tuesday, 10 May 2011, 9:52 PM EDT
WILBRAHAM, Mass. (WWLP) - Minnechaug's girls lacrosse team has been a bridesmaid at Longmeadow's wedding, too many times too count. This season, the Falcons are preparing for their big day. Minnechaug goalie Emily Castleman is the 22News athlete of the week.
"We're here to win it this year, we have a very strong team and hopefully we can go all the way", says Castleman.
Minnechaug is off to the best start in Western Mass this season. Its strong defense is anchored by goalie Emily Castleman. Goalie isn't the most attractive position in lacrosse, Castleman started playing the position in 8th grade.
"I was kind of a crazy, daring child who jumped in the net one day for a game because we didn't have a permenant goalie and I was like this is just for me, it's what I want to do, it's what I want to play so I stuck with it ever since", says the Minnechaug senior.
That has paid off for the Falcons. Castleman is heading to Western New England next year and will play for the Golden Bears. Castleman credits her defenders for making her look so good.
"If something happens and they break through I'm there and if I make a big save, they rely on me for that, but they do a lot of the work for me", says Castleman.
Castleman is the last line of defense for the Falcons.
Her teammate Amanda McLaughlin believes in her goalie.
"I personally think goalie is one of the most important positions because I mean if you have a kid in net that can't stop a ball when you need a save you're in trouble", says McLaughlin. She adds, "She (Castleman) clearly is one of the best goalies in Western Mass and when we need a save, she comes up for us big."
None bigger than the six saves Castleman made against Longmeadow. The Falcons handed the Lancers their first loss against a Western Mass team in a decade.
"We have a lot of great players this year, we really do and it does boost your confidence, especially that win against Longmeadow, boosts it even more", says Castleman. She continues, "We're trying to stay level-headed though because we have a long way to go in our season, we do, we still do."
Minnechaug has a big rematch with Longmeadow on Thursday.
Castleman plans on majoring in Elementary Education at Western New England.