At the eight minute, 34 second mark of the first half, Colby-Sawyer’s Andrew Clothier chucked an overhead pass into a mosh of both Springfield College and Colby-Sawyer jerseys in front of the Pride’s net. The ball was headed into the sky by Colby-Sawyer’s Eddie Garcia. It landed just to the left of the goal, where Denali Sexton was able to chip it over the head of Pride goalkeeper Billy Schmid, giving the Chargers (11-8-0) an early 1-0 lead on Wednesday in the ECAC quarterfinals.
After dropping their previous game to MIT in the NEWMAC semifinals 1-0, this was not the ideal start the Pride (15-4-1) were looking for.
Head coach Steffen Siebert didn’t falter from his game plan however; he trusted his veteran athletes to maintain a level head and fight back in after an early deficit.
Siebert’s trust and belief paid off, as the Pride were able to string together four unanswered goals, en-routeroute to a 4-0 lead, and a berth in the ECAC semifinals.
“We work on that in practices and in past games,” Siebert explained in regards to his team’s ability to fight from behind. “Those moments, again, are something we prepare for, because I can’t go on the field, so the leaders have to take over. It’s a phenomena,being able to score four come-from-behind goals in a playoff game ,you need to be mentally strong for that.”
Under 10 minutes after the Charger’s goal put them on the board, the Pride were able to tie the contest up, courtesy of a throw-in from Luke Alvaro which was tipped into the net by Cam Powell. The Pride jumped ahead on the scoreboard just four minutes later, as Curtis Bolduc ripped a shot from the left side of the field, causing the ball to roll in between the legs of Colby-Sawyer goalkeeper Shane Sacks.
“Oh, unbelievable,” Siebert marveled at the Pride’s balanced offense.. “It doesn’t matter who’s in, who’s on the field, everybody is ready to play and contribute.”
Siebert has lauded his squad as a defensive minded team all season, saying that they build from the back and play through the defenders. That stayed true against Colby-Sawyer, as the Pride shutout the Chargers after their lone goal in the first half, and kept their offense off balance all evening.
“For us we focus on the process and not the outcome. The important thing for us was not if they scored, it was how we played. We shut the other team out in a way that yes they scored, but they didn’t have a lot of opportunities.” Siebert said.
The Prides’ final two goals came in the second half, courtesy of Taylor Gilfoy and Harrison Davis.
After being handed a loss by MIT just four days previous to their matchup with Colby-Sawyer, Springfield looked like a team with something to prove on Wednesday night.
“I thought MIT was one of our best performances all season,” Siebert said. “Again I’m not looking at the outcome, I’m looking at the process. We played well, it took MIT until the 87th minute to score. So I told the boys we just needed to keep doing what we were doing, and we would be successful.”
Springfield’s opponent in the ECAC semifinals is still to be decided, but Siebert and the Pride will be ready regardless of the team they’re matched up against.
“I believe in the boys, and I believe that any day we can beat any team in the country. We will be ready, and excited to play another great team.”