BANGOR, Maine — The Husson University men’s and women’s soccer teams took a giant step closer to ensuring that the North Atlantic Conference tournaments will be held at their Boucher Field Sunday.
In games pitting conference unbeatens, the Husson women edged Castleton State (Vt.) 2-1 before the men earned a 1-0 triumph over the Spartans.
The Husson women are 10-2 overall, 5-0 in the conference while the Castleton State women fell to 8-5, 4-1 respectively. The Husson men improved to 8-5 and 5-0 while the Spartan men are 7-6 and 4-1, respectively.
The top seeds earn the right to host the six-team tournaments and the top two teams in the conference earn first-round byes.
In the women’s game, Megan Clement came off the bench to set up Megan LaJoie’s goal which broke a scoreless tie before expanding the lead 4:09 later.
Kelly Gerken cut the lead in half 2:28 later but the Eagles held on for the win.
Clement replaced Shelby Bradford — when Bradford had to repair her shoe — and launched a 40-yard shot toward the far corner that required a tremendous save by a fully extended Nakita Baldic.
The alert LaJoie swept onto the rebound and drove it into the vacated net.
“The defense gave me a little bit of space and I hit it as hard as I could,” said Clement. “It felt great coming off my foot.”
“I got a piece of it with my hand but it hit the post and came out to where [LaJoie] was,” said Baldic.
“I knew [Clement] had a powerful shot so I figured I might as well crash the net,” said LaJoie.
Moments later, Bradford told Clement that [Clement] was going to score the next one and Bradford made it possible with a precise diagonal ball to her at the far post off a Michelle Manning throw-in.
The unattended Clement was alone with Baldic and took a touch before converting.
“[Baldic] moved over to the near post and came out a couple of stops so I hit it to the far post,” said Clement.
Gerken made things interesting by heading a Courney Chadburn corner kick just under the crossbar.
But Husson clamped down defensively.
Husson had a decisive edge in play but the Spartans did manage some dangerous counter-attacks.
Husson attempted 31 shots to Castleton State’s 12 and both goalkeepers were sharp as Tatyana Wolterbeek finished with seven saves for Husson while Baldic wound up with 12.
In the men’s game, Jeff Truchon’s goal off a Tyler Metivier pass 18:22 into the game stood up thanks to freshman left back Jacob Labonte, who cleared two balls off the line in the last five minutes of regulation.
Labonte, twin brother Josh, Billy Shannon and Josh Bartlett efficiently manned the back line and teamed with midfielder Justin Gauvin to limit Castleton State to very few scoring chances against backup goalkeeper Brad Ala over the first 85 minutes.
Ala was playing in place of the injured Miguel Dominguez.
Husson squandered several chances by missing the net.
The desperate Spartans flooded the penalty area and a ball deflected to Sean Fitzgerald, whose low shot beat Ala to the near post. But Labonte cleared it away and he did the same thing a few seconds later as the ball made its way through a maze of legs.
“I was just in the right place at the right time,” said Labonte.
On the game’s only goal, Truchon made a run down the right flank and Metivier found him with a precise diagonal pass.
“Tyler gave me a great ball. It cut it back and bent it to the far post,” said Truchon.
“Give him credit. It was a good shot,” said CS goalie Mike Anthony. “He hit his spot to the far side. I got a tip of my finger on it but couldn’t get enough of it.”
Anthony finished with seven saves on 28 shots while Ala had three stops on nine shots.