Women's Soccer Set to Face Husson in NAC Championship

Women's Soccer Set to Face Husson in NAC Championship

CASTLETON, Vt. – The second-seeded Castleton women's soccer team is set to host fourth-seeded Husson for the North Atlantic Conference Championship Saturday at 4 p.m. at Spartan Stadium.

Castleton (10-7-2) fended off New England College in the semifinals, 2-1, to earn its first trip to the conference championship since 2014. NAC Rookie of the Year Rylee Nichols gave Castleton the lead and Makenzi Bellando netted the game-winning goal on an assist by Kinnan Latremore in the 73rd minute.

Nichols has four goals in her last four games and leads the team in scoring with 14 goals and 31 points. Bellando sits in second with 10 goals and six assists, while Julia Carone and Bronwen Hopwood have combined for 12 goals and nine assists. Senior keeper Kiley Baran is 10-3-1 with a 0.96 goals-against average and .831 save percentage in 14 starts in goal.

Husson (9-6-1) upset top-seeded Colby-Sawyer in double overtime, 1-0, in the semifinals to advance to its first conference championship in seven years. Brianna Saulter netted the game-winning goal in the opening moments of the second overtime, while Sami Ireland made 10 saves in the shutout.

Leah Hibbad leads the team in scoring with 21 goals and nine assists for 51 total points. Morgan Carver has seven goals and two assists for 16 points, while Taylor Fortin and Saulter have combined for 11 goals and 10 assists on the season. Ireland has started every game in goal and holds a 1.49 goals-against average with three shutouts to sport her 9-5-1 overall record.

Castleton earned a 2-1 victory over Husson in the conference regular-season finale. Nichols got the Spartans on the board, before Hibbad netted the equalizer in the 77th minute. With less than 10 minutes left in regulation, Dallas Brodhead scored the game-winning goal to send the Spartans to victory. The winner of the NAC Championship earns an automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament.