CASTLETON, Vt. -- The University of Maine at Farmington women's soccer team's bid to reach the North Atlantic Conference Tournament championship game came up one goal shy of the mark, as the Beavers dropped a 3-2 decision to Castleton State College Tuesday night at Spartan Stadium.
UMaine-Farmington finishes the season with a 9-7-3 mark, while Castleton State improves to 12-7-1. The Spartans advance to Saturday's tournament title game against Colby-Sawyer College. Castleton State will be making its fifth consecutive NAC championship game appearance.
Castleton State's Mallory Costello scored the first goal of the semifinal in the 11th minute of play. The forward collected the ball near the left corner of the 18-yard box, and lofted a shot into the side netting to put Castleton up 1-0.
Just 2:10 later, Castleton extended its lead. Dominique Valancius broke down the right flank and got off a ground-ball shot that squeaked between two Farmington players and into the left side of the net to put the Spartans ahead 2-0.
UMaine-Farmington's best opportunity came in the 28th minute off of a corner kick. Sophomore Meryl Bond delivered the ball into the 18 where Katie Clark got her head to the ball directing it goal wards, over the reach of Spartan keeper Jessica Binkowski. The ball was destined for the net, but Kelsey Lenney was standing on the goal line and cleared the ball before it crossed the plane.
In the second half, UMaine-Farmington mounted a serious comeback, cutting the lead in half in the 61st minute. Midfielder Kayla Tuttle received a pass across the face of the goal from forward Ava Amador and one-touched it into the net.
Castleton regained a two-goal advantage in the 67th minute when Costello found Valancius in the box for a goal.
The Beavers continued battling and broke through again with just 1:02 left in the game. Amador finished off a half-volley from the six-yard line off a bouncing pass from Katie Clark. The forward's tally made the score 3-2, but the Beavers' assault ended there as Castleton held on for the final minute of play.
Binkowski finished with two saves in the game earning the win. UMaine-Farmington starter Beth Lebel made one save and allowed two goals in the first half, and was relieved by Amy Jones in the second half. Jones made a pair of saves and allowed one goal.