CASTLETON, Vt. – The Castleton University athletics department has finalized the 2017 competition schedule for the Spartan men's soccer team, featuring nine home matches at Spartan Stadium.
The season begins on Labor Day weekend when Castleton travels to Gorham, Maine, for the Husky Challenge, first taking on host Southern Maine Friday, Sept. 1, before facing Coast Guard Saturday, Sept. 2. The Spartans open the home schedule with a three-match homestand, starting Tuesday, Sept. 5, against SUNY Poly.
Castleton hosts Clarkson Friday, Sept. 8, and SUNY Potsdam Sunday afternoon, Sept. 10. The Spartans' next two matches take place in New Hampshire, at Keene State Wednesday, Sept. 13 and at New England College, the defending NAC Tournament champion, Saturday, Sept. 16.
The Spartans stay in Vermont for the next two weeks, starting with a home contest against Green Mountain Tuesday, Sept. 19. Castleton travels to Lyndon State Saturday, Sept. 23, and to Norwich Tuesday, Sept. 26, before ending the month with a conference match against Colby-Sawyer Saturday, Sept. 30.
Castleton heads to Maine for conference games at Thomas, the defending NAC regular season champion, Saturday, Oct. 7, and at Maine-Farmington Sunday, Oct. 8. The Spartans do not leave the state for the remainder of the regular season, with their last road game taking place at Middlebury Wednesday, Oct. 11.
The regular season closes with four straight home games, beginning with a non-conference contest against SUNY Canton Saturday, Oct. 14. Castleton then faces conference foes Johnson State Tuesday, Oct. 17, Maine Maritime Saturday, Oct. 21, and Husson Sunday, Oct. 22.
The top six teams in the final NAC regular season standings will qualify for the conference tournament, starting with the quarterfinals Sunday, Oct. 29, followed by the semifinals Wednesday, Nov. 1, and the championship match Saturday, Nov. 4. The winner of the NAC Tournament will receive an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament.
Castleton, led by fifth-year head coach John O'Connor, finished second in the 2016 NAC regular season standings with a 7-2 league record and hosted a NAC Tournament semifinal match. The Spartans, entering their final season in the NAC, are looking for their first conference tournament championship since 2008 and their fifth NAC Tournament title overall.