The Middlebury men's soccer team ran its unbeaten streak to eight games, as the Panthers cashed in on a penalty kick for a 1-0 triumph win Wednesday at Castleton (7-7-1). Middlebury (8-2-3) returns to NESCAC play Saturday at 12:00 p.m., hosting Bates.
The visitors came close to opening the scoring in the second minute of play, as Brandon Reid had his shot denied by Spartan keeper Ryan McKay just 1:11 into the game. Seconds later, Raffi Barsamian fired a second chance wide right.
Middlebury got on the scoreboard with 21:24 on the clock in the initial period of play, taking advantage of a penalty kick after a Panther was fouled in the penalty area. Ben Potter took the free kick and fired a shot into the left-side of the net for his fourth tally of the fall. Castleton had a chance to pull even with 15 minutes left before the break on a shot from the top of the box by Rida Kori, but Middlebury goalie Matthew Hyer collected the bid as the guests held a one-goal edge after 45 minutes of play.
In the second stanza, the scoring opportunities were limited for both teams, with the Panthers getting the best chance in the latter stages of the contest. Shams Mohajerani headed a shot toward the inside of the right post, but McKay dove to his left to push the attempt wide with 10:31 on the clock. The Spartans nearly pulled even less than two minutes later on a chance by Jack Kingdon, only his shot sailed wide of the right post.
Middlebury came within inches of adding an insurance goal with 1:25 remaining, as Jacob LaBranche's low show hit the left post to keep the final margin at 1-0.
Hyer recorded notched his fifth shutout of the season for Middlebury with five saves, while McKay finished with seven stops for Castleton.
The Panthers held a 17-13 advantage in shots and a slim 4-3 margin in corner kicks.
Middlebury is 6-0-2 in its last eight games and has outscored the opposition by a 21-5 margin.