Spartans Open NAC Homestand Versus Johnson State Tuesday

Spartans Open NAC Homestand Versus Johnson State Tuesday

CASTLETON, Vt. – Coming off a six-day break from action, the Castleton women's soccer team (6-7-1, 5-1 NAC) is set to host Johnson State (4-9, 0-7 NAC) Tuesday at 4 p.m. in the first of four straight home matches to close out the regular season.

The Spartans surrendered a hard-fought battle to Middlebury, 3-0, last Wednesday in non-conference action. Rachel Shambo made seven saves in the effort, including five in the first half that kept the match scoreless after 45 minutes of play.

Rylee Nichols enters the week with 21 points on 10 goals and one assist to lead Castleton offensively. The freshman has six points over her last three games and has dominated conference foes with eight goals and one assist in six NAC contests. Makenzi Bellando is second on the squad with 16 points on six goals and four assists. Bronwen Hopwood also has four assists and has registered four goals for a total of 12 points, while freshman Julia Carone has tallied four goals and two assists this season. The Spartans are averaging 2.50 goals per game as a team, good for third in the conference.

Kiley Baran has anchored a strong defensive group with nine starts in goal. Baran has made 38 saves and is second in the conference with a 0.95 goals-against average. The senior has posted an .826 save percentage with two shutouts to support her 6-3 record. In six NAC starts, Baran is 5-1 with a 0.59 goals-against average and an .864 save percentage. As a team, Castleton is averaging 1.46 goals allowed per game.

Johnson State enters the matchup on a five-game skid after most recently falling to UMaine-Farmington, 3-0, last Saturday. The Badgers have suffered five straight NAC setbacks dating back to Sept. 30, when they fell to Maine Maritime, 6-1.

Kylie Aither ranks second in the conference with 37 points on the season. Aither has strong numbers across the board as she leads her team in goals (16) and assists (5). She has also tallied three game-winning goals in the team's four victories overall. Katherine Fish has also posted solid numbers with 23 points on nine goals and five assists. The duo has combined for 60 of the team's 76 total points on the season.

Defensively, Kaila Lemmer has made 12 starts in goal and holds a 3.65 goals-against average with a 3-8 overall record. Lemmer is second in the NAC with 134 total saves this season and she has posted a .779 save percentage in 936 minutes of action.

The two teams most recently faced each other last season, with Castleton coming away with a 6-1 victory at Johnson State's home pitch.