KEENE, N.H. - The Keene State men's soccer team received goals from senior Riley Steele and freshman Brandon Castor to remain undefeated in the 2017 season, as the Owls overpowered Castleton, 2-1, in the home opener at the Owl Atheltic Complex on Wednesday night.
- Keene State: 2-0-2
- Castleton: 1-5
How It Happened
After back-and-forth play ensued for the majority of the first half, the Owls were able to generate a goal scoring opportunity in the 41st minute, as Steele collected a deflection off the Spartan defense at the top of the box and fired off a low shot that landed between Spartan goalkeeper Aaron Parker and the left post to give Keene State the 1-0 advantage. Castleton tried to answer back quickly with 50 seconds remaining in the first stanza, as Colby Gay shot a ball outside of the box towards the Owls' goalkeeper Jason Smith. The senior was there to make the save, but the shot was too strong to hold on to, as the ball deflected back to the feet of Gay, who crossed it into the box for another Castleton chance. Fidele Rutayisire was there to control the pass, but his shot went high to keep the Owls in front by one going into the break.
Keene State started the half hungry for another goal, as freshman Isaiah Lovering dribbled the ball up the right side and sent a cross that went just over a jumping Kpee in the box during the first minute of play. Castleton would put a chance on goal minutes later, as Rutayisire and Seraphin Iradukunda connected on a give and go in front of the box in the 56th minute, but Iradukunda's shot went straight into the hands of Smith. The Spartans continued to put pressure on the Owls, when a free kick in the 61st minute led to a cross on the right side from Jack Kingdon, followed by a header shot from Iradukunda, which grazed the crossbar and tipped out of bounds. Keene State responded with an offensive spark, as the Owls doubled their lead in the 68th minute when Steele received a pass from senior Aidan Dean and ripped a shot outside of the box, which deflected to the feet of Castor. The rookie controlled the ball near the six yard line and sent it past an oncoming Parker to put Keene State up, 2-0.
Castleton started to gain momentum in the final minutes, finally taking one back from the Owls with less than two minutes to go in regulation. With 1:58 on the clock, Cam Rossi-Crete sent a cross to Abinash Rai, who bent a shot into the upper right corner and past an outstretched Smith. Despite the late goal from the Spartans, Keene State was able to hold on to the 2-1 win and remain undefeated.
Inside the Box
- In net, Smith registered five saves during the full 90 minutes of play for the Owls, while Parker made five stops for the Spartans.
- Keene State held a slight 13-11 advantage in shots over Castleton and earned four corner kicks to the visitors' three.
- The Owls hold an all-time record of 21-4-1 over the Spartans.
- Keene State has won three of its past four home openers.
- Keene State will travel to UMass Boston on Saturday, September 16th for the Owls' first Little East Conference action beginning at 4:00 p.m.
- Castleton will head to New England College for a North Atlantic Conference matchup at 2:30 p.m.