The Castleton men’s soccer team is heading to its 10th straight North Atlantic Conference semifinal game after it defeating Colby-Sawyer 3-1 in the quarterfinal game at Spartan Stadium on Oct. 30.
“It was a good win,” coach John Werner said. “I thought we were great early, but we were controlling the game.”
Castleton started the game off strong, pressuring Colby-Sawyer’s keeper, Will Berry, who proved up to the task making a few saves on some tricky shots.
One of Castleton’s closest scoring opportunities came about 10 minutes in as Trevor Kotrady served up a corner kick from the left hand side where Jacob Roswell wasn’t able to convert on his header attempt.
The Spartans got on the board in the 19th minute of play when Tanner LeCruyer powered a bending free kick around a wall of Colby-Sawyer defenders and past Berry into the right corner of the net.
“I don’t think [Berry] had much of a chance,” coach John Werner said about the free kick. “It was moving so fast, and when Tanner puts it on goal it’s pretty hard for anybody to stop. It was smoking, that’s for sure.”
Colby-Sawyer played pretty aggressively for the rest of the first half, but neither team looked like it would give up another goal.
“Boy late in the first half, I have to give them credit, they came at us pretty good,” Werner said. They played pretty well.”
That all changed early in the second half, though, as Spencer Dandurand used a spin move to get an open shot on goal, which he deposited in the left corner of the net just 15 minutes into the second half.
“Spencer’s moment of individual brilliance to score that second goal makes you look like a good coach if the kid can do that,” Werner said. ” It’s nothing I taught him, that was just a great goal from him and for us.”
Castleton’s final game of the match came in the 80th minute when Kotrady received a pass from Bryce Kaler, made a few moves and sent the ball into the back of the net.
Kaler received high praise from Werner for his play in the game.
“I thought he played very well for us today,” Werner said. “We gave him man of the match today. It was not even a spot he was playing in earlier in the season, but with Dameon [Young] and Zac Conlogue hurt, he stepped in and had a great game in the middle for us.”
Castleton’s quest for a shutout ended with five minutes left in the game as Mike Laskowski a shot past Nate Koenemann, who made four saves in the game.
“You know it’s playoffs, so as long as you have more than them at the end of the match you’re happy,” Werner said.
Castleton now advances to the quarterfinal game on Nov. 2 and a time to be determined. The Spartans opponent for the game had yet to be determined when this article went to print, but Werner ssaid he was excited for the game.
“I hope we get some guys back physically,” Werner said. “New England College, we beat 4-0 here, but they’ve been beating people, so that wouldn’t be an easy one. Farmington we worked overtime to beat up there. I think we are the best playing team in the conference, but whether that translates into wins, we will see. I think we have an X on our backs.”