The Castleton Spartans women’s soccer team fell to the Wheaton Lyons in a close 2-1 contest on Saturday at home. Before the game, Coach Chris Chapdelaine said he anticipated this one would be a tough matchup.
“They’re always good,” he said. “But we like to get out there and play good teams because it’s an opportunity to make mistakes and get better.”
Yet not too many mistakes were made by the Spartans.
The first half of the game was a hard fought defensive battle. Wheaton was aggressive, but the Spartans held strong. By the half, the score was 0-0 and Wheaton had only taken one more shot than Castleton, 5-4. Scoring opportunities seemed hard to find for both teams.
The second half was a different story.
There was immediate action right out of the gate as Wheaton benefitted from a Castleton save attempt gone wrong within the first 30 seconds of the second half putting the Lyons up 1-0. The Spartans, however, wasted no time in retaliating. Less than 30 seconds later, sophomore Makenzi Bellando converted a penalty kick to tie the game at 1-1.
For a while it seemed as if the game was headed for overtime until a perfectly placed shot from Wheaton’s Kaylee Sye found the top right corner in the 80th minute. This would prove to be the game winner making the final score 2-1.
After the game, Chapdelaine said he was proud of how the defense played but would like to see his team “generate more scoring opportunities.”
“Normally we’ve had a lot of firepower in the past,” he said. “This year we’ve really been prioritizing defense and I think it shows. If not for a few mental lapses, I don’t think they score those two goals.”
Freshman defender Mikayla Sullivan agreed with her coach, calling the two goals “unlucky.”
“They were pretty good upfront, but I think we handled their offense just as well as we would any others,” she said. “They were quick, but we stayed composed and when things got chaotic, we were still managing to get the ball out of our defensive third … Just like any game, we will defend until we can’t defend no more.”
Castleton’s strong defense is no doubt what kept them in the game versus Wheaton throughout most of the game. The Lyons came into this matchup averaging 3 goals per game, but were held to just 2, which is an encouraging sign for the 0-2-1 Spartans. They will look to get their first victory of the season on Sept. 13 when they take on the MCLA Trailblazers in Massachusettes.