Adding to an already-crowded trophy collection, Castleton junior defender Thomas Kirk (Gloversville, N.Y.) has been named to the 2017 United Soccer Coaches (USC) NCAA Division III Men's Scholar All-East Region First Team, announced earlier this week by the national organization.
Kirk had another strong season for Castleton as he repeated as North Atlantic Conference (NAC) Defensive Player of the Year after leading the Spartan back line that posted the lowest goals against (4) and goals against average (0.43) in conference contests.
Kirk and his teammates allowed no more than four shots on goal in five of the team's nine conference games. He played a significant role in nine shutouts during the 2017 season, including a span of almost 659 straight minutes without giving up a goal from the final 65:38 of the Middlebury game on Oct. 11 through six straight shutout wins, including two shutouts in the NAC Tournament, until 53:16 into the NCAA first round contest Nov. 11 against Messiah, the eventual 2017 national champion.
He started in all 21 games this past season and set new career highs in goals (3), assists (5), and points (11). Notably, one of his biggest goals of the year came off of a free kick from 40 yards out in the second half that tied the match at 1-1 against Norwich.
In the classroom, Kirk is majoring in physical education and currently carries a 3.71 grade point average. A NAC All-Academic honoree in the fall of 2016, Kirk is the only NAC student-athlete as well as the only one from a Vermont institution to be named to any of the three Scholar All-East Region teams.
Castleton University won both the NAC regular season and tournament titles to advance to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2008. The Spartans finished with a 12-7-2 overall record, including an 8-0-1 regular season mark within the league.
--Courtesy of Castleton Sports Information