PLAYER & DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Aaron Parker, Castleton
(Sr., G - White River Junction, Vt.)
Parker stopped all seven shots he faced on the week to help Castleton clinch the NAC Championship for the first time since 2008. The senior posted back-to-back clean sheets to give him three consecutive individual shutouts. In the NAC Semifinals, the keeper made three saves for the 2-0 win over New England College. Then in the 2017 title game, Parker made four saves for the 1-0 victory over Colby-Sawyer. He heads into the NCAA Tournament with a 1.11 goals-against average and .798 save percentage to sport his 12-6-2 record. For his career, Parker sits second on the Castleton all-time program record in goals-against average (1.14). He also ranks tied for sixth on the Spartans' single-season record for wins (12) and is tied for ninth in shutouts with six.
ROOKIE OF THE WEEK
Jacob Godfrey, Castleton
(Fr., F - Castleton, Vt.)
Godfrey scored the only goal in the North Atlantic Conference Championship match, giving Castleton the 1-0 victory with his fourth goal of the season coming with just one second remaining on the clock in the first half. The freshman was in front of the goal when a corner kick sailed into the box, and he sent a quick shot inside the right post as it crossed the goal line at the 44:59 mark of the contest. Godfrey heads into the NCAA Tournament with 11 points on four goals and three assists.
NAC CHAMPIONSHIP RECAP
Jacob Godfrey scored with one second remaining in the first half and it proved to be the game-winning goal as Castleton defeated Colby-Sawyer, 1-0, Saturday night in the North Atlantic Conference (NAC) Men's Soccer Championship held at Spartan Stadium.
With the win, Castleton improves to 12-6-2 and earns the conference's automatic berth to the NCAA Division III Championship. Colby-Sawyer concludes its season 11-7 overall.
In the waning seconds of the opening half, Fidele Rutayisire was awarded a corner kick and the Spartans capitalized. Rutayisire's ensuing cross went into the box, where Sean Springer slid to push it forward past a defender, and Godfrey was there to sneak it inside the right post at 44:59 of the match.
The back-and-forth half saw action on both ends, with Spartan keeper Aaron Parker making two saves prior to Castleton's goal. Colby-Sawyer's Jake Sykes issued a strong shot on goal inside the box followed by a lifted shot from Ryan Player inside the six-yard box that Parker leaped and gathered in the 37th minute. Seraphin Iradukunda sent a shot on goal that the Chargers' keeper Shane Sacks stopped early in the opening stanza.
It was a physical second half as Colby-Sawyer searched for the equalizer. Castleton's defense, however, buckled down to hold the Chargers off the board. Colby-Sawyer did come away with a great opportunity early in the second half off a corner kick from Sykes. His cross came hard into the box, where Denali Sexton redirected it towards the goal, but Parker was in front to make the save.
Springer nearly doubled the Spartans' lead late, as Jack Kingdon raced down the sideline and sent a cross into the box that Springer headed just over the crossbar. That proved to be the final scoring opportunity for either side as Castleton earned the conference championship by a final score of 1-0.
Parker finished with four saves in the shutout to improve to 12-6-2. Sacks collected one save for Colby-Sawyer. The Chargers held an advantage in shots, 11-9, including 4-2 on goal in the contest.
Parker was named Most Valuable Player of the Tournament and was joined by Kingdon, Thomas Kirk, Iradukunda, and Derek Blouin on the All-Tournament Team. Sacks, Player, and Sykes were named to the All-Tournament Team for Colby-Sawyer. Cooper Valinski and Sina Samali represented New England College and Matt Caron and Ike Doiron were named to the All-Tournament Team for Maine Maritime.
The Spartans will find out their NCAA Tournament opponent on Monday, November 6.
--Courtesy of Castleton Sports Information
2017 NAC MEN'S SOCCER CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE
Championship • Saturday, November 4
No. 1 Castleton 1, No. 2 Colby-Sawyer 0 - Boxscore