Rutayisire's Late Goal Gives Men's Soccer 3-2 Win at Thomas

Rutayisire's Late Goal Gives Men's Soccer 3-2 Win at Thomas

WATERVILLE, Maine – Fidele Rutayisire struck the go-ahead goal in the 83rd minute as the Castleton men's soccer team outlasted Thomas, 3-2, in a crucial North Atlantic Conference matchup Saturday afternoon at Smith Field.

With the win, Castleton handed Thomas its first regular-season conference loss since Oct. 4, 2015. The Spartans improved to 5-5-2 overall and are the only remaining unbeaten NAC team at 4-0-1. Thomas fell to 5-6-1 on the season and 3-1-1 in NAC action following the loss.

It was a tale of two halves as Castleton set the tone with a pair of early goals to go up 2-0, but Thomas recovered to score two goals in the second half to tie the match at 2-2. With the game still level in the 83rd minute, Rutayisire lifted the Spartans back on top with a goal off an assist from Colby Gay. Following a corner kick from Jack Kingdon, Gay fed a cross through traffic where Rutayisire headed the shot past Thomas goalkeeper John Villanueva to lift the Spartans to victory.

The Spartans set the tone early with a goal in the eighth minute as Gay gave his team momentum. Seraphin Iradukunda raced down the right side and sent a cross to the left post, where Gay finished it with a shot off the crossbar and in. Valter Jacobsson stretched the Spartans' lead to 2-0 after re-directing a free kick from Kingdon in the 25th minute. Aaron Parker was strong in goal with two saves in the first half to keep a 2-0 score after 45 minutes.

In need of a quick momentum shift, Thomas got one just over 10 minutes into the second half. Nawfal El-Antri was awarded a free kick just outside the box and he curled a hard shot inside the right post to cut the Terriers' deficit in half, 2-1, in the 57th minute. Over 20 minutes later, Thomas fought back to tie the game in the 79th minute as Tevin Reid bent in a free kick to the left corner of the net to draw the game even at 2-2. 

The level game was short-lived however as Castleton regained the lead ­­with Rutayisire's eventual game-winning goal in the 83rd minute to down the Terriers by a final score of 3-2. ­

Parker finished with three saves in goal to earn his fifth win of the season. Castleton held an advantage in shots, 20-13, including 8-5 on goal. The Spartans also held a slight advantage in corner kicks, 4-2, while committing seven fouls to the Terriers' 13.

Castleton returns to the pitch Sunday afternoon to face UMaine-Farmington on the road at 2:30 p.m.