Jacob Godfrey scored with one second remaining in the first half and it proved to be the game-winning goal as Castleton defeated Colby-Sawyer, 1-0, Saturday night in the North Atlantic Conference (NAC) Men's Soccer Championship held at Spartan Stadium.
With the win, Castleton improves to 12-6-2 and earns the conference's automatic berth to the NCAA Division III Championship. Colby-Sawyer concludes its season 11-7 overall.
In the waning seconds of the opening half, Fidele Rutayisire was awarded a corner kick and the Spartans capitalized. Rutayisire's ensuing cross went into the box, where Sean Springer slid to push it forward past a defender, and Godfrey was there to sneak it inside the right post at 44:59 of the match.
The back-and-forth half saw action on both ends, with Spartan keeper Aaron Parker making two saves prior to Castleton's goal. Colby-Sawyer's Jake Sykes issued a strong shot on goal inside the box followed by a lifted shot from Ryan Player inside the six-yard box that Parker leaped and gathered in the 37th minute. Seraphin Iradukunda sent a shot on goal that the Chargers' keeper Shane Sacks stopped early in the opening stanza.
It was a physical second half as Colby-Sawyer searched for the equalizer. Castleton's defense, however, buckled down to hold the Chargers off the board. Colby-Sawyer did come away with a great opportunity early in the second half off a corner kick from Sykes. His cross came hard into the box, where Denali Sexton redirected it towards the goal, but Parker was in front to make the save.
Springer nearly doubled the Spartans' lead late, as Jack Kingdon raced down the sideline and sent a cross into the box that Springer headed just over the crossbar. That proved to be the final scoring opportunity for either side as Castleton earned the conference championship by a final score of 1-0.
Parker finished with four saves in the shutout to improve to 12-6-2. Sacks collected one save for Colby-Sawyer. The Chargers held an advantage in shots, 11-9, including 4-2 on goal in the contest.
Parker was named Most Valuable Player of the Tournament and was joined by Kingdon, Thomas Kirk, Iradukunda, and Derek Blouin on the All-Tournament Team. Sacks, Player, and Sykes were named to the All-Tournament Team for Colby-Sawyer. Cooper Valinski and Sina Samali represented New England College and Matt Caron and Ike Doiron were named to the All-Tournament Team for Maine Maritime.
The Spartans will find out their NCAA Tournament opponent on Monday, November 6.
--Courtesy of Castleton Sports Information
2017 NAC MEN'S SOCCER CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE
Championship • Saturday, November 4
No. 1 Castleton 1, No. 2 Colby-Sawyer 0 - Boxscore