The Spartans ended their season abruptly in the NAC Quarterfinal match after they fell to Maine Maritime 2-1.
Heading into the game, the Spartans were 5-4 in conference.
“We knew going into this game that it was NAC championship or bust,” CSC senior Tanner Lecuyer said.
Nicholas George scored the Mariners first goal 13 minutes into the game, after receiving the ball from teammate Matt Leblanc to give Maine Maritime the 1-0 lead.
Less than three minutes later, Castleton’s Nick Johnas headed a ball from a free kick by teammate Dillon Zaengle to tie the game at one.
For the next 40 minutes, both defenses remained strong until Abdullah Alkhayyat was found by George to add the Mariners final goal and the game-winner.
The Spartans didn’t let down, outshooting MMA 20-13, and in the final ten minutes of the game, Maritime’s William Trace Lacour denied Dominic Heller and then later stopped a pair of shots by Bryce Kaler.
Lacour made four saves as well at Castleton goalkeeper Nate Koenemann.
Maine Maritime improves to 10-7 and will move on to the NAC semifinal game where they will play against Thomas College on Oct. 30.
“I am disappointed about not winning a NAC title, especially after how good we’ve been all four years,” Lecuyer added.
Since Lecuyers freshman season in 2009, the Spartans have gone on and lost in the NAC final twice, and the semifinal once.
“Being a senior and have always felt like we were a presence in the playoffs, this year was definitely not what we anticipated,” senior captain Nick Johnas said. “Despite our record and loss in the quarterfinals, I know we were one of the best teams in the NAC.”
This year, the Spartans will graduate eight seniors including Lecuyer, Zac Conlogue, Jake Roswell, Trevor Kotrady, Justin Rose, Dillon Zaengle, and captains Johnas and Ian Hunter.
“I couldn’t have asked to play with a better group of guys,” Johnas added. “It was devastating losing so early in the playoffs, but looking around the field after that loss and seeing seven seniors I consider my brothers is something better than a NAC title will ever bring.”
The Spartans end their season at 11-7 and fall even with a 5-5 NAC record.
“I look forward to always following the Men’s Soccer team here at Castleton, and know more NAC Titles will fall in our favor soon enough,” said Johnas. “There is great talent that remains on this team for next season and for seasons to come.”