Spartans Close Out Regular Season at Home Over Weekend

Spartans Close Out Regular Season at Home Over Weekend

CASTLETON, Vt. – With heavy playoff implications hanging in the balance, the Castleton men's soccer team is set to conclude its regular season this weekend with a pair of home North Atlantic Conference contests against Maine Maritime and Husson at Spartan Stadium.

Castleton (8-6-2, 6-0-1 NAC), which enters the weekend unbeaten in conference action, will host Maine Maritime at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, before hosting Husson on Senior Day at the same time Sunday. The Spartans are seeking their first NAC regular-season title since 2013.  

After being shutout at Middlebury last Wednesday for the first time since Sept. 8, the Spartans' offense erupted for six goals in back-to-back games while earning a pair of shutout victories over SUNY Canton and Johnson State. It was the most goals Castleton had scored in back-to-back games since 2010, which was also the last time the Spartans finished the regular season with an unbeaten conference record.

Nine different Spartans have scored over the last two games, including two goals each from Seraphin Iradukunda, Jack Kingdon, and Joel Atutor. Iradukunda leads Castleton on the season with 24 points and is tied for third in the conference with 10 goals. Kingdon is second on the squad with 12 points and ranks third in the NAC in assists with six. Fidele Rutayisire has 10 points on four goals – two of which are game-winners – and two assists. Jacob Godfrey has registered nine points on three goals and three assists, while Colby Gay and Thomas Kirk each have eight points. Kirk leads all defensemen with two goals and four assists. As a team, Castleton is third in the conference averaging 2.44 goals per game.

Aaron Parker has anchored the defensive squad with 70 saves in 16 starts in goal. He has a .769 save percentage to go with three shutouts and an 8-6-2 record. In seven conference starts, Parker is 6-0-1 with 28 saves and a 0.66 goals-against average. The Spartans' 1.27 goals-against average for the season is No. 1 in the conference.

Maine Maritime (3-8-3, 2-3-2 NAC) enters the final weekend of the regular season in seventh place in the NAC after downing UMaine-Farmington, 5-0, on Tuesday. Matthew Caron scored three goals for a hat trick to lead the Mariners offensively in the win.

Caron also leads the squad on the season with 16 points on seven goals and two assists. Ike Doiron has four goals and one assist for nine points, while Dalton Moore leads the Mariners with five assists. Maine Maritime has struggled as a unit offensively, ranking ninth in the conference with a 1.29 goals per game average.

Defensively, Joshua Reeks has made 10 starts in goal and sports a .770 save percentage with 47 saves and two shutouts. Reeks is 3-4-2 on the season with a 1.48 goals-against average in 850 minutes of action.

The Spartans shutout the Mariners, 2-0, last season on the road to lock up the No. 2 seed in the NAC Championship Tournament.

Husson (7-6, 4-3 NAC) is coming off a 1-0 loss against New England College last Saturday. The Eagles currently sit in fifth place in the conference standings and will wrap up their regular season against Castleton after taking on Green Mountain Saturday.

Offensively, Nathan Firlings and Saker Ghanayem each lead the squad with 13 points on the season. Firlings has five goals and three assists, while Ghanayem has four goals and five assists. Miguel Caballero, Nick Whitehead, and Jahmal Williams each have seven points to date. The Eagles rank sixth in the conference in goals per game (2.08).

Cody Gross has seen most of the action in net for Husson, posting a 1.47 goals-against average with three shutouts in 11 starts. Gross is 5-5 on the season with a .758 save percentage and 47 saves. The Eagles rank fourth in the conference in goals-against average (1.38) and have allowed the second-fewest (18) goals this season.

The Spartans shutout Husson last season, 2-0, at Boucher Field.