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Castleton Spartans

Men's Soccer Travels to Maine For Key NAC Contests

Men's Soccer Travels to Maine For Key NAC Contests

CASTLETON, Vt. – Following a seven-day break from action, the Castleton men's soccer team (4-5-2, 3-0-1 NAC) will gear up for the final stretch of the regular season with a pair of North Atlantic Conference contests at Thomas and UMaine-Farmington over the weekend.

Castleton will face Thomas (5-5-1, 3-0-1 NAC) on Saturday at 3:30 p.m., before visiting UMaine-Farmington (5-5, 1-2 NAC) on Sunday at 2:30 p.m.

The Spartans are coming off a big 2-0 victory over Colby-Sawyer last weekend in what was an early-season battle for first place in the conference. Seraphin Iradukunda netted both goals and became the first league player all season to score two goals on the Chargers, while Aaron Parker nabbed his second shutout in three games with seven saves, including five in the second half.

Iradukunda leads the offense with 14 points on six goals and two assists. Nine of those points have come in the last four games led by a pair of two-goal performances against Green Mountain and Colby-Sawyer. Jack Kingdon, Abinash Rai, and Fidele Rutayisire have each notched six points. Kingdon has one goal and leads the squad with four assists on the season. Rai has tallied three goals, while Rutayisire has netted two goals and two assists – all coming against conference opponents – thus far this season. Jacob Godfrey has also contributed two goals in four starts against NAC foes this season. The Spartans rank seventh in the NAC with an average of 1.82 goals/game.

Defensively, Castleton has allowed 17 goals this season and ranks third in the conference with a 1.47 goals-against average. Parker has started every game between the pipes and holds a 4-5-2 record with a .770 save percentage and 1.57 goals-against average in 974 minutes. The senior has two shutouts in his last three starts and ranks second in the conference with 57 saves.

Thomas enters the weekend on a two-game losing streak after falling to Southern Maine and Bowdoin in non-conference bouts earlier this week. The Terriers have bested conference foes Husson, Johnson State, and UMaine-Farmington to go with a 1-1, double-overtime draw at Maine Maritime earlier this season.

The Terriers are averaging 2.18 goals/game, despite finding the back of net twice in their last three matches. Junior Adam LaBrie leads the offense with 10 points on four goals and a pair of assists. Nawfal El-Antri has registered seven points on two goals and three assists, while Jack Gallagher and MacQuille Walker both have seven points on three goals and an assist. Michael Sanzari is tied with El-Antri and Walker for the team lead with four points in NAC contests this season.

Defensively, Thomas has allowed 14 goals this season and ranks second in the conference with a 1.25 goals-against average. Jonathan Dutka has posted 29 saves to go with his .725 save-percentage and 5-3-1 overall record.

Castleton and Thomas are the only two remaining unbeaten conference teams. The Spartans lost to the Terriers, 2-0, last season on their home pitch. Castleton last defeated its conference rival in 2013 with a 1-0, overtime victory.

UMaine-Farmington is coming off a 1-0 victory over the University of New England on Wednesday. The Bears will face Green Mountain Saturday before hosting the Spartans on Sunday.

The Beavers are averaging just over 11 shots/game and rank eighth in the NAC with a 1.20 goals/game average.  Jake Heimlich, Nick Marshall, and James Pelletier have each recorded five points this season on two goals and an assist. Pelletier netted the lone goal in the 1-0 victory against UNE. Jon Randolph has four points, while Ethan Cooper and Luke Dwornik each have three points thus far.

UMaine-Farmington is averaging 1.60 goals allowed per game, good for fifth place in the conference. Matt Wilson has registered 52 saves and a .800 save percentage to go with his 4-4 record in 10 starts between the pipes this season. Wilson leads the NAC with five shutouts on the season.

The Spartans shutout the Beavers, 4-0, last season on their home pitch. Castleton has outscored UMaine-Farmington, 17-1, over the last four matchups spanning three seasons.