The Castleton men’s soccer team was picked conference favorite before the start of this season. Last year, the team held a 6-1-1 record in the North Atlantic Conference, as well as the conference title. With a good amount of players returning from last year’s team to defend the title, there are very high expectations. When this past weekend began, the men’s team was down 0-2 in the standings, with two very close losses against out-of-conference teams.
The first loss was to Norwich in a 1-0 game that the Spartan offense couldn’t seem to get a hold of. The second loss was to Oneonta State in a spirit-crushing double overtime defeat. Though the team showed improvement against Oneonta, it couldn’t wrap up the game in overtime.
This past weekend, the Spartans looked to improve their place in the standings with a game against Southern Vermont College.
They fought a long and tough battle and eventually came out on top, thanks to Ryan Hahn’s single goal in overtime.
The win boosted them into their next test, against Williams College, this past Saturday. Unfortunately, the Spartans couldn’t put it together against Williams, dropping the game in a tough 8-1 loss.
“We need to utilize our technical skill and pick up the speed of our game. We’ve got a talented team that knows how to play, but we’re stuck in third gear,” said junior starting defender Nick Bellizzi. “We also need to increase our communication big time.”
Conference play will begin when the Spartans face off against Lyndon State College on September 20.
The Spartans plan to take the experience they’ve gotten from playing in these out-of-conference games and use it to their advantage in defending their NAC title.
This week, the team looks to improve its out-of-conference record at home against Middlebury College on September 10 and against Me.-Machias on September 13.