Spartans Set to Face Middlebury, SUNY Canton in Non-Conference Action

Spartans Set to Face Middlebury, SUNY Canton in Non-Conference Action

CASTLETON, Vt. – Coming off impressive road victories over Thomas and UMaine-Farmington last weekend, the Castleton men's soccer team (6-5-2) is set to conclude its regular-season non-conference slate with matches against Middlebury (7-4) and SUNY Canton (5-6-1) over the next four days.

The Spartans will travel to Middlebury for a 4 p.m. match on Wednesday, before hosting SUNY Canton Saturday at 2:30 p.m. 

Castleton defeated Thomas on the Terriers' home pitch for the first time since 2013 with an impressive 3-2 victory. Fidele Rutayisire scored the game-winning goal in the 83rd minute to give the Spartans the win. The Spartans followed up with four unanswered goals to defeat UMaine-Farmington, 4-1, behind a pair of tallies from Seraphin Iradukunda. The Spartans enter the week unbeaten in their last seven games, going 5-0-2 over that span with five conference victories.

The offense has come alive over the seven-game unbeaten streak, averaging three goals per game during its recent stretch. Iradukunda leads the team with 19 points on eight goals and three assists. The freshman has four games with two goals this season, including in two of the last three matches. Colby Gay and Rutayisire are tied for second on the team with eight points on three goals and two assists each. Gay is coming off a season-high three-point game against Thomas with a goal and an assist. His helper came on the game-winning goal against the Terriers. Jack Kingdon leads the squad with five assists on his way to seven points to date, while freshman Abinash Rai has recorded six points on three goals this season. 

Along with an uptick in offensive production, Aaron Parker has anchored a strong defensive unit with one goal or less allowed in six of the last seven games. On the season, Parker has 61 saves to go with a 6-5-2 overall record. The senior has posted a .753 save percentage and a 1.48 goals-against average in 13 starts.

Middlebury is coming off a 1-0 win at Wesleyan on Sunday, marking its fifth shutout of the season. The Panthers fell to Tufts last Saturday, 4-0.

Offensively, Middlebury is averaging 1.18 goals per game with 13 total goals on the season. Drew Goulart leads his team with six points on two goals and two assists. Daniel O'Grady and Ben Potter each have five points on two goals and one assist. The Panthers have four players with one goal on the season, including Brandon Reid, who registered the game-winning goal in the victory over Wesleyan.

The Panthers' defense is anchored by keeper Jeremy Yeager, who has played every minute in goal this season. He has a strong 1.16 goals-against average to pair with a .723 save percentage. Yeager has five shutouts on the season en route to his 7-4 overall record. 

The two teams last faced off Oct. 12, 2016, with Middlebury earning a 4-1 victory at Spartan Stadium. Castleton last defeated Middlebury Oct. 21, 2014, with a 1-0 triumph at home.

SUNY Canton is coming off a 1-0 victory against Southern Vermont on Sunday. The Kangaroos scored the lone goal in the 81st minute to earn the win.

SUNY Canton is averaging 1.50 goals per game on offense. Kyle Smith leads the way with nine points on four goals and one assist. Hector Martinez follows with three goals and one assist, while Nick Magliano has three goals for six total points on the season.

Mouhammed Thiam has made eight starts in goal, posting a strong 1.17 goals-against average and a .833 save percentage with 45 saves in eight starts. Thiam is 2-4-1 on the season with a team-leading three shutouts. Overall, the Kangaroos are averaging 1.80 goals against per game.

SUNY Canton won the most recent meeting, 1-0, last season on its home pitch. The Spartans bested the Kangaroos, 5-1, in 2015.