CASTLETON, Vt. – The Castleton University men's soccer team has announced its competition schedule for the 2018 season, featuring nine home matches and 10 contests against schools with a record at or above .500 last year, including two 2017 NCAA Tournament participants.
Castleton, the regular season and tournament champion in the North Atlantic Conference last season, opens 2018 with home games against Clark University Friday, Aug. 31, and Northern Vermont-Lyndon Tuesday, Sept. 4. The Spartans will then play three road games in the span of five days, traveling to play Clarkson (Sept. 8), SUNY Potsdam (Sept. 9), and Southern Vermont (Sept. 12).
In its first season in the Little East Conference, Castleton will be challenged right away, hosting defending league champion Western Connecticut State Saturday, Sept. 15. After a home match against in-state rival Norwich Wednesday night, Sept. 19, the Spartans conclude the three-match homestand on Saturday, Sept. 22, against Rhode Island College, tied atop the 2017 regular season standings in the Little East at 5-2.
The Spartans' first road conference contest takes place Wednesday, Sept. 26, against UMass Boston, the third-place finisher in the LEC last season at 4-2-1. Castleton travels to SUNY Canton Tuesday, Oct. 2, before hosting UMass Dartmouth under the lights Saturday, Oct. 6.
The following week, Castleton travels to face Plymouth State Wednesday, Oct. 10, and Eastern Connecticut State Saturday, Oct. 13. The Spartans hustle back to campus to host former conference foe Maine-Farmington Sunday, Oct. 14, starting another three-match homestand.
Castleton hosts Middlebury, the second team on the schedule to reach last year's NCAA Tournament, Wednesday night, Oct. 17, before closing out Homecoming Saturday with a night match against LEC rival Keene State Saturday, Oct. 20. The Spartans wrap up the regular season at SUNY Poly Wednesday, Oct. 24, and at Southern Maine Saturday, Oct. 27.
The top six teams in the final regular season standings will qualify for the LEC Tournament, with seeds three through six participating in quarterfinal matches Tuesday, Oct. 30. The top two seeds will receive a bye into the semifinals, with the highest seed hosting the semifinals Friday, Nov. 2, and the final Saturday, Nov. 3. The winner of the tournament will receive the league's automatic berth into the NCAA Division III Men's Soccer Tournament.
Castleton posted a 12-7-2 overall record in 2017, including an 8-0-1 mark within the NAC regular season. After shutout victories over New England College and Colby-Sawyer to win the NAC Tournament, the Spartans battled eventual national champion Messiah before eventually losing the NCAA first round match, 1-0.