BUFFALO, N.Y. – Castleton University showed that it could play with one of the traditional powers of Division III soccer, but Messiah College was able to send one shot over the goal line, enough for a 1-0 victory Saturday evening in the first round of the 2017 NCAA Division III Men's Soccer Tournament at Coyer Field on the campus of Buffalo State College.
Messiah (19-2) dominated the possession in the first half, taking 11 shots while allowing just one shot from Castleton. However, Spartan keeper Aaron Parker was up for the challenge, making six saves as he kept the Falcons off the scoreboard during the first 45 minutes.
The Falcons broke through just over eight minutes into the second half when Nick West took a shot that glanced off the left post before spinning into the net. After that, Castleton could not put together a counterattack, as Messiah maintained possession and kept shooting in an attempt to increase its lead.
The Spartans found their opportunity with about 10 minutes remaining in regulation, rushing down the field and forcing the Falcon defense to kick the ball out of bounds. Jack Kingdon sent the corner kick into the box, but Valter Jacobsson's header sailed wide left.
The Falcons finished with 25 shots, including 14 shots on goal, while Castleton was credited with three shots, one on goal. In what would turn out to be the final match of his collegiate career, Parker finished with a career-high 13 saves, while Messiah goalie Connor Bell made one save.
Castleton ends the 2017 season with a 12-7-2 overall record.