By Ben Diamond
Social Media Editor
“Everyday we try to get better as a team and closer as a family.”
These are the Springfield College men’s soccer team’s goals for the season, and in a sport where goals are usually hard to come by, this team has been nearly perfect.
After Sunday afternoon’s 4-0 win over the visiting Keene State Owls, the Pride moved to 7-0-1 overall, marking the program’s best start in its Division III history.
For the players, each game serves as an opportunity to grow their bond that began to cultivate during the team’s preseason.
“This preseason, we came in early and made it a point to bond as a team,” said senior captain Luke Alvaro.
“Every upperclassman on the team makes it a personal goal to get to know the freshman outside of just soccer, which isn’t something you see a lot,” added sophomore forward Christian Schneider.
This team is clearly goal-oriented, on and off the field. In today’s contest, they Pride were keyed by three first half goals, including two within the game’s first eleven minutes by junior Douglas Enga and Schneider.
This game’s avalanche of goals for the Pride is not uncommon. For the season, they are averaging a New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) leading 4.38 per game. However, the team prides itself on its defensive performances, and Sunday’s match was no different – their sixth shutout of the season.
“Defensively, the key was to give [Keene State] no time to breathe on the ball. This starts from the two forwards all the way to the back four,” said Schneider. “The entire game, we are pressing hard and not letting them have any space to play. The defensive effort comes from the team as a whole and any game you watch, you’re not going to see anyone on the field standing around for the ball. Everyone is marking their man and ready to go.”
The Owls challenged Springfield goalkeeper Zach Richard often but the senior finished with a season-high seven saves, including two back-to-back diving saves near the 20-minute mark in the first half. Richard’s outstretched arms staved off any chance of the visitor’s regaining momentum, and the Pride was in total control for the rest of the game.
Sunday’s win capped off a successful weekend for coach Steffen Siebert’s team, one that saw a nine-goal differential in two wins, as Saturday featured a 5-0 win over Emerson.
The grind does not get any easier for the unbeaten team as they will welcome Southern Vermont to Brock-Affleck Field Tuesday night for their third game in four days.
“It’s been pretty hard on us physically the past two days. But we have a day of rest to get healthy again for Tuesday and we are going to come out just as hard against Southern Vermont as we do for every game,” said Schneider. “And I have no doubt we are going to come out on top.”