Farmington, Maine - Around this time last season, Castleton had lost three of its last five games and was destined to hit the road for a tough playoff game as the fifth seed in the North Atlantic Conference tournament. This year, things are much different for the Spartans.
With their 2-0 victory over Maine-Farmington on Sunday afternoon, Castleton did something that hadn't been achieved since 2010, earn the NAC regular season crown. With a 7-1-1 record in conference and a 12-3-2 mark overall, the Spartans earned the top seed entering the tournament.
Nate Koenemann only needed to make one save as he posted his seventh shutout of the season, leading the Spartan defense to their third consecutive clean sheet against a conference opponent. The senior earned his 12th win in net on the season.
Castleton notched their first goal in the 30th minute of play when Drazen Smith played a ball out of the back to John Kendall who beat the Beavers' goalkeeper Derek Reilly for his eighth goal of the season. The score gave Castleton a 1-0 advantage heading into the halftime break.
In the second half, Castleton struck again, this time off of a set piece. P.J. Phillips launched a free kick from the deep right side into the mixer. Spencer Dandurand rose from the crowd and connected on a header that skipped past Reilly to put Castleton up 2-0 with under 20 minutes to play.
The Spartans dominated possession for the majority of play, outshooting the host 16-3 and earning four corners to Farmington's two. Castleton played the final eight minutes of the game with a man-advantage after Dahir Muktar was sent off in the 82nd minute for receiving his second yellow card of the day.
The Castleton defense held onto the shutout, securing the team's 12th win of the year. The Spartans will return to action on Sunday, Nov. 3 when they host Lyndon St. at 1 pm.