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Castleton Spartans

Women's Soccer Races Past Maine Maritime, 5-2

Women's Soccer Races Past Maine Maritime, 5-2

CASTLETON, Vt. – After surrendering an early goal to fall behind, the Castleton women's soccer team rattled off four unanswered goals and raced to a 5-2 victory over visiting Maine Maritime on Saturday afternoon in a North Atlantic Conference contest at Spartan Stadium.

With the win, Castleton improved to 8-7-1 overall and 7-1 in NAC action. Maine Maritime fell to 6-10 on the season and 4-4 in conference play after the loss.

Eryn Doiron staked Maine Maritime to an early 1-0 lead after finishing a cross from Susana DeFrank in the 11th minute. DeFrank raced down the near sideline to draw a defender closer, before sending a cross into the box where Doiron redirected for the one-touch goal. 

The one-goal lead did not last, however, as Castleton responded quickly to draw even. After Kaitie Sanders powered a long drive to the net, Megan O'Shea battled through a scrum in front and headed a cross over to Makenzi Bellando, who drilled it home for the equalizer in the 15th minute of the match.

The Spartans kept the throttle down and took their first lead of the match just over 10 minutes later. After forcing a turnover near midfield, Bronwen Hopwood scorched in on goal and released a pass toward the right post, where Julia Carone redirected it just under the crossbar to give Castleton a 2-1 lead at the 25:07 mark of the opening frame.

Both teams settled in through the final 20-plus minutes of the back-and-forth first half, maintaining a 2-1 lead for Castleton at the break. Kiley Baran and Mariners' keeper Emily Conway each finished the half with one save. 

Carone sparked the Spartans early in the second half, again finishing a cross from Hopwood. The latter raced down the near sideline, made a cut toward the goal, and fired a cross to Carone who smashed a shot off the keeper's hands and to the back of the net just 56 seconds into the second stanza.

The Spartans stretched their lead to 4-1 with Carone once again involved in the Spartans' attack. The freshman found Rylee Nichols at the top of the box, who fired a quick turnaround shot that slipped inside the right post in the 61st minute. After Maine Maritime cut into the deficit on a free-kick goal from Makayla Lewis in the 66th minute, Nichols scored her second goal of the game to provide insurance on an assist from Bellando with just over five minutes left in the match. The Spartans held off Maine Maritime over the final minutes to earn the 5-2 victory.

Carone and Nichols each finished with two goals in the win, while Hopwood picked up two assists. Baran earned three saves to improve to 8-3 on the season for Castleton. Conway stopped three shots of her own but fell to 6-10 after the loss. Castleton outshot Maine Maritime, 19-11, including 8-5 on goal. Corner kicks finished 4-2 in favor of Castleton, while the Spartans committed 11 fouls to the Marines' nine.

Castleton will look to continue its strong play on Sunday as it hosts Husson in the final conference matchup of the regular season at 12 p.m. at Spartan Stadium.