Under the bright lights of Brock-Affleck Field, the Springfield College women’s soccer team found themselves tied 2-2 with Clark as three minutes were left to play. But, just like that, Jess Miller was tripped up inside the box.
Senior Brooke Hattinger took the kick for Miller and knocked it in the top right corner to give the Pride the 3-2 lead and the victory. The Pride improved to 8-3-2 and 4-1-1 in the NEWMAC, which is currently good for sole possession of second place in the conference. Clark dropped to 2-9-2 and 0-4-1 in the conference.
Head coach John Gibson truly believed that the penalty kick would become a reality.
“I had a premonition last night that we were going to get a penalty, we haven’t had one all season,” Gibson smiled. “I told Brooke to take it and she scored it high to the right.”
Springfield got off to a fast start as they scored two goals in the first 18 minutes . Just four minutes into the game, Miller took the ball down the right side and found Krissy Cicalis in the middle of the box for the goal. Approaching 27 minutes left in the half, Miller earned a goal of her own with a pass set up by Dakota Kelly.
As the maroon and white appeared to be clicking on all cylinders, they gradually lost sight of their lead. Despite controlling possession, Springfield saw Clark capitalize on one of their only chances in the first half. With 23:21 left in the half, Clark’s Kara Fischer would rip a shot that bounced off the hands of Springfield goalie Ciara Boucher. Boucher had two saves on the night as Clark’s Gabby Paolini was a little busier with six saves.
The Cougars made things even more interesting very early into the second half as Alex Easton tied it up off the helper from Fischer. Springfield’s momentum seemed to quickly wither away despite the dominant attack on Clark’s defense.
“I think we did notice that we were outplaying them a lot and kind of took a backseat,” said Miller.
The Pride certainly did have plenty of chances as they out shot the Cougars 20-7. Minutes after Clark’s game-tying goal, Nicole Fowler made a good pass to Miller who found Cicalis who shot the ball just left in order to set up a corner. It happened to be one of 10 corners for Springfield.
Leading up to Hattinger’s game-winning goal, Springfield continued to create more opportunities. One of their best chances came with under 19 minutes ticking. Sophomore Kim Quiles made a great cross to Miller who headed it over the top of the net.
“We made chances all through the game,” said Gibson. “We had a problem finishing them.”
Although Springfield had the lopsided advantage on Clark with scoring opportunities, the Cougars stayed tough.
“Credit them (Clark), they hung in there,” said Gibson. “They kept working hard.”
This time around, the Pride were unable to shutout their opponent or score in bunches, but more importantly they were able to show resilience and add yet another victory to their stellar season. Miller was quick to introduce a silver lining to the not so smooth victory.
“I think the fact that everyone was able to keep their morale up and try and stay positive throughout that and still get the win says a lot about us.”
Springfield returns back to Brock-Affleck Field on Saturday when they face off with Emerson for a 1 pm kickoff.