The Castleton Spartans men’s soccer team has been haunted by a 0-4 start to their season this fall.
However, things turned around on Saturday when the Spartans notched their first victory, defeating Plymouth State 3-1.
Coach John O’Connor was very excited to finally get into the win column.
“Its been a long time coming, I knew the guys could do it all along,” he said.
Plymouth State started off the scoring with a great shot to the bottom right corner of the net from Nick Rutherford in the 11th minute of the first half.
Castleton controlled play for much of the half and had had many great scoring opportunities, but the Spartans simply couldn’t seem to find a scoring spark.
But the second half was a different story.
Minutes into the second half, Bryce Kaler demonstrated some great vision to find an open Vinny Addonisio with a through ball toward the right side of the box. Addonisio showed off his crafty footwork, grabbing the pass and spiraling through Plymouth defenders to score the first Spartan goal of the match.
After that, the Spartans simply couldn’t be stopped.
In the 68th minute, Justin Hepburn sent a beautiful kick from about 20 yards out to beat the Plymouth goaltender. The ball appeared to hit off a Plymouth defender before tickling the net.
Castleton’s defense shined in the second half, keeping the ball mostly in Plymouth territory. The defense was backed by sophomore goaltender Dan Palker, who earned his first career victory on the day, and also made four saves.
Palker was brilliant, but stressed that it was not just his effort.
“The defense played fantastic. It’s tough to play perfect defense, but I was lucky with the way they played in front of me,” he said.
Senior Spencer Dandurand rounded out the scoring for the Spartans. Dandurand utilized his speed to create a broken play, and put himself one-on-one with the goalie and finished with a beautiful chip shot over the goalie’s head.
“Getting that goal at the end was the finale to it all. It was great work from the guys, and I was just lucky enough to be the one on the end of it,” he said.
Despite a rough start to the season, O’Connor feels the Spartans leadership will lead to great things this season.
“You look at Bryce and Dameon (Young), who dug their boots in and said were going to do this. If they can hold on to that, there will be more wins to come,” he said.