Spartans Battle Keene State to 1-1, Double-OT Draw

Spartans Battle Keene State to 1-1, Double-OT Draw

CASTLETON, Vt. – The Castleton women's soccer team and Keene State both found the back of the net in the first half and it became a defensive battle from there as the Spartans and Owls played to a 1-1, double-overtime draw Wednesday night in non-conference action at Spartan Stadium.

With the tie, Castleton closed out its regular season with a 9-7-2 mark overall. Keene State is now 9-7-1 after its first draw of the season.

Castleton jumped out to an early lead after Makenzi Bellando buried the first shot of the match for either side. Rylee Nichols found space in her own defensive zone and lofted a long through ball over the Keene State defense, where Bellando raced in and hammered a low shot inside the left post to give the Spartans a 1-0 advantage just 4:51 into the contest.

Keene State controlled possession for the majority of the first period, outshooting Castleton, 10-1, in the opening frame. Taylor Farland netted the equalizer in the 25th minute after finishing a free kick from Katie Silegy just outside the box. The Owls came away with more opportunities in the period, but Kiley Baran was strong with five saves to keep the match at 1-1 after 45 minutes.

Both defenses tightened up in the second half to prevent any strong scoring chances. Nichols found a clear lane and spun a shot on goal, but Owls' keeper Shelby Offord made the save to keep Castleton at bay. Baran made four more saves in the second half, and the Spartan defense forced a multitude of tough-angled shots to send the match to overtime.

The Owls came away with all four shots in the first overtime period, but none were on goal as Castleton's defense held down the pressure. Bellando broke past the defense late in the extra period, but was called offside on the play to nullify the opportunity.

A back-and-forth second overtime period saw chances open up on both ends. Nichols struck the first shot on goal just over one minute into the period, while Julia Pearson nearly ended it for Keene State but her bending shot sailed just over the crossbar. Nichols sent a corner kick into the box in the waning seconds, but the Owls' defense prevailed as the score remained 1-1 when the final horn went off.

Baran finished with a career-high 10 saves in the draw to move to 9-3-1 on the season. Offord made two saves in goal for the Owls and is now 4-3-1 on the year. Keene State held an advantage in shots, 27-5, including 11-3 on goal. Corner kicks finished at three apiece, while Castleton committed six fouls to the Owls' nine.

The Spartans will return to action Tuesday, Oct. 31, when they host the North Atlantic Conference semifinal with the opponent and time still to be determined.