Spartans, Westfield State Battle to 1-1, Double-OT Draw

Spartans, Westfield State Battle to 1-1, Double-OT Draw

CASTLETON, Vt. – The Castleton women's soccer team featured a strong defensive effort and timely scoring to battle visiting Westfield State to a 1-1, double-overtime draw on a rainy Wednesday night at Spartan Stadium.

With the draw, Castleton moves to 0-1-1 on the season. Westfield State is now 0-1-2.

Westfield State held an 11-3 advantage in shots at the end of the first half, but Spartan goalkeeper Loren Henderson made a handful of tremendous saves to keep the game scoreless. Three stops over a two-minute span in the first half featured a jumping save, where she forced a shot over the cross bar, and a pair of diving stops to her right. 

The stout defensive effort finally paid off, as Castleton was able to strike first early in the second half. Julia Carone finished a piercing through ball from Kate Steller just outside the box in the 47th minute that gave the Spartans a 1-0 lead.

The Spartans continued to force more pressure on the offensive end, swaying momentum back-and-forth as opportunities came up on both sides. Carone forced another shot on goal moments later from the top of the box, but Owls' goalkeeper Leah Ciampa was there to make the save. On the Westfield State end, Casey Rotti nearly notched the equalizer off a corner kick from Lydia Kinsman but Henderson was there to make the save.

Westfield State was finally able to get one past Henderson in the 76th minute, as a deep foul in the Spartan defensive zone led to a penalty kick for the visitors. Bella Eduardo capitalized on the opportunity, sending a line-drive shot straight over the left shoulder of Henderson to tie the game, 1-1. The Owls got the final regulation shot on goal in the 79th minute, but Henderson collected another save to send the game to overtime. 

The Owls outshot the Spartans, 5-0, in the opening overtime. Kiley Baran, who entered the game in goal for the Spartans, made three strong saves, including a diving stop on a low shot that nearly snuck across the goal line. The Spartan defense was able to block a pair of shots to keep the game deadlocked. The best opportunity in the first extra period went to the Owls after a corner kick from Rene Hamel. The cross entered traffic in front and was headed toward the net by Marissa McGue, but Baran was all over it to hold off the Owls' attack.

The Spartans bounced back to have two strong opportunities in the second overtime, but this time it was the Owls' defensive effort to defend any charge by the opposition. Rylee Nichols came away with a loose ball near the top of the box just 20 seconds into the period, and she powered a low line drive but Ciampa was there for the answer on the other end. In the 106th minute, Bronwen Hopwood earned a corner kick as the Spartans continued to have pressure in the offensive zone. The corner came out to the top of the box, where a loose ball was recovered by the Owls and sent out the other way.

In the 108th minute, Baran made another sensational save on an Owl shot. Hamel lined up and uncorked a high twister that forced Baran to leave her feet. She jumped just high enough, getting her hand on the shot and pushing it slightly over the cross bar. That proved to be the final opportunity for either side, as the Spartans and Owls played to a 1-1 draw.

Henderson finished with 10 saves on 11 shots in just her second career start. Baran played both overtime periods and finished with four saves on four shots. Ciampa finished with four saves on five shots for Westfield State. There were four yellow cards in the match, with three going to Westfield State and one for Castleton.

The Spartans return to the pitch at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday to face Wheaton in a non-conference tilt at Spartan Stadium.