Springfield men’s soccer faced a tough test on Tuesday night when the team hosted UMass Boston. The bright lights were on and in the cool autumn air the Pride picked up a solid 2-0 victory to push its record to 11-0.
Coach Steffen Siebert was pleased with his team’s effort.
“We talk about all the time in practice and the locker room that the first 50 minutes are our 50 minutes. I’d say that so far the stats would say we’ve done a good job of that this season.
At a crucial point in the season and with a game such as this one under the bright lights, it was that both teams would come out fired up. This was the case, but it was the Pride who held their composure and developed a steady attack.
Springfield had some early chances that they missed on. For the first five minutes they were in full attack mode. The Pride’ Cam Powell missed a corner shot high, then five minutes later UMass Goalie Omar Castro Dreher robbed Curtis Bolduc of a goal.
Dexter Tenn set Bolduc up with a nice lead pass and he was able to shake his defender only to have his shot grabbed by Castro-Dreher at the last second. The Pride defense held the Beacons at midfield for much of the first 15 minutes.
At the 20 minute mark Tenn got on the counter attack and missed a goal just wide. The Beacons followed that with a near score of their own on a corner kick. That was the first time they were able to establish some attack on Springfield.
As the half wound down, play became a bit more physical and chippy. A penalty and then a yellow card set the Pride up with a penalty kick. Christian Schneider buried it to give Springfield a 1-0 lead.
The Pride had several more looks before the halftime buzzer, but some solid goalkeeping and a little luck from the goal post sent Springfield into halftime still leading leading, 1-0.
With the game getting as physical as it was it was important to let cooler heads prevail and take advantage of the excessive physicality.
Schneider said that this was a point of emphasis for the Pride.
“We knew coming into the game that they would be pretty dirty. We saw some video and we knew that just keeping a cool head and not getting as many cards as they did was pretty key.”
The entire second half was a display of the Springfield defense that has allowed only four goals this season. The Pride dictated the pace and did not allow the Beacons to gain any significant momentum offensively or with counter attacks.
“We attack with 11 and we defend with 11,” said Siebert. “They passed it around a lot, but we were okay just being in our half and waiting for the right moment to win the ball and move forward quickly.”
With just over 14 minutes remaining, the Pride added to its lead by doing exactly that. Bolduc scored with assists from Brendan Claflin and Leland Malloy. That would prove to be the finalizer as the Pride held its ground for the 2-0 victory.
Springfield is back in action Saturday at noon when they host Emerson. The Lions are 4-7-1 on the season and will look to put a dent in the Pride’s unbeaten record.
Schneider said the Pride will continue to take it one game at a time.
“We take each game day by day and make sure that everyone is healthy and prepared for each game. If we do that with Emerson there’s no doubt that we’ll come away with a win.”