After what seemed to be a shaky start, the Springfield College men’s soccer team has turned things around and is now looking at a postseason berth. The Pride, headed by coach Steffen Siebert, have won their last three games, improving their record to 5-8-2 while capturing two NEWMAC victories. The team, which commonly refers to themselves as the “Bushmen,” will look to pull out conference wins against Babson and WPI to place them towards the top of the league heading into the tournament.
“Everything is still possible in the NEWMAC right now, it is so close. We could finish second or we could finish second to last,” said Siebert. “No matter what happens, everything is decided on the last day of competition. I enjoy that, and I think the boys will rise to the occasion.”
Offensively, the Pride are led by junior forward Danny Amato, with three goals and two assists, and classmate Scott Saucier, with two goals and four assists in 13 games.
In the back, Drew Vanasse was recently tabbed NEWMAC Defensive Player of the Week for his efforts in two victories within the past week. Vanasse, along with fellow juniors John Mankus and Colin Smith, have allowed only one goal to MIT and shut out Westfield State in the last week.
Credited with the shutout was sophomore goalkeeper Brett Bascom, who has been solid in the net all season. The 6-foot-2 keeper from New London, N.H. has accumulated a .727 save percentage while only allowing an average of 1.27 goals per game.
Although these players have shined throughout this roller coaster ride of the season, Siebert is proud of all of everyone on the team.
“I strongly believe that every single player on this team has developed,” said the first year coach. “Ones who have been playing 90 minutes each game as well as the ones who haven’t played at all, I’m really proud of that, and that’s what they pride themselves on that. You know that everyone is getting better.”
When it comes to the senior leadership, senior midfielder David Chessen has taken his role and excelled both on and off the field.
“Leadership right now equals David Chessen. He is just taking this team to the next level,” said Siebert of his captain.
Chessen has started all 14 games that the Pride have played, and despite only two assists, brings an on-field presence that is directly reflected in the efforts of the rest of the team.
“I think the past few games our luck has turned a little bit. The ball is bouncing our way. I think we are still playing as well as we have been the whole season,” said Chessen.
Chessen and the Pride looked to carry their momentum into Wednesday’s game with Brandeis, but fell short with a 3-1 decision. Brandeis enetered the game ranked No. 10 in the nation, according to the d3soccer.com poll, with an impressive 12-1-1 record on the year. The Pride lost a heartbreaker last year to the Judges 1-0 at Brock Affleck.
“Getting into the tournament is our main goal right now. Once we get in, it’s all back to the starting spot from there, and we will do the best we can,” mentioned the captain.
After Brandeis, the Pride will host Babson College on Saturday afternoon in a rematch of last season’s NEWMAC Championship game. The Pride won this game in penalty kicks after a 1-1 draw at the end of regulation.