After a tough 1-0 loss on Saturday to NEWMAC rival WPI, Springfield earned a 2-0 victory at Brock-Affleck over Simmons College on Tuesday night.
The Pride netted two goals within a minute of each other in order to put Simmons at an early disadvantage. Just under 11 minutes into the contest, senior Jess Miller won a header right in front of the net and headed it in for the first score. Then, seconds ticked by and Bri Messier made a leading pass down the left sideline to Nicole Fowler who perfectly bent a shot to the inside of the right post.
Miller and Fowler each earned their fourth goal of the season. Ciara Boucher was relatively quiet throughout the match as she collected two saves for the Pride. Briana Hayes made six saves for the Sharks.
Once again this season, the maroon and white held a lopsided advantage in not only time of possession and aggressiveness, but also shots. They out-shot Simmons 20-6.
The ability to out-hustle and out-play their opponents was nothing unfamiliar to Springfield. Being able to capitalize and gain momentum was the deciding factor between out-playing their opponent and actually securing the win. Head coach John Gibson was very pleased with the way his team started right out of the gates.
“I thought the first half hour we played really well,” said Gibson.
Gibson’s comment was nothing short of accurate as minutes after the pair of scores, Dakota Kelly found Fowler with a one on one situation with the goalie but hit her shot just right of the post. Midfielder Monique Marcelino got knocked down hard to the ground but drew a foul in result of it. Elizabeth Monsen took the free kick that went directly to the hands of Hayes, but it put more stress on the Shark’s defenders and more momentum on Springfield’s attack. Amanda Calzolano attempted to create a chance just before the half as she passed it to Kim Quiles who tried to chip it past Hayes but went right.
Continuing to contain their aggressive style of play, the Pride created more opportunities in the second half. Kelly made yet another good read down the field and found Quiles down the right side who used her quick yet fancy footwork to gain space and rip a shot that went left of the net.
As the chances continued to pileup for Springfield, the 2-0 advantage proved to be the score that would remain until the whistle.
“I would have like to see a couple more go in, just for the players who would have had the satisfaction of finishing some moves,” Gibson said.
As the offense was the primary focus for the Pride, the defense’s willingness to fully contain the Simmon’s attack allowed Springfield’s offense to have more time, space, and creativity with their scoring options.
Looking at the whole picture, Gibson’s team should have gained confidence and momentum with the victory. Sitting at 10-5-2 overall, Springfield still has more work to do. Their 5-3-1 record in the conference has them almost near the bubble for the NEWMAC playoffs.
The Pride faces Wellesley on Saturday at Brock-Affleck field in which the game could have some crucial implications.
“We want a home playoff game,” said Gibson. “We’d have to win Saturday to have a chance at a home playoff game.