The Springfield College men’s soccer team is having a historic season. There are many aspects of their season that could be considered historic. An undefeated 13-0 record, an explosive offense, or the fact that they have worked their way into the national rankings.
However, one aspect that stands out above all of those is the defense. For the entire season, the Pride have only allowed four goals.
The team has played over 1,100 minutes of game time on the season and have only allowed the ball into their net just four times. They have recorded 10 shutouts on the season and the last time they gave up a goal was on September 26th.
Those are unbelieveable numbers this far into a season.
Two leaders of that defense are seniors Harry Davis and and Cam Powell. The duo has combined for 14 points on the year and have led the charge of one of the best defenses in program history.
Davis is quick to deflect credit to the entire unit.
“It’s not just the back four it’s the whole team,” said Davis. “We worked really hard to achieve something like this. It’s non-stop work, not just us. Everyone on the sidelines talking to us, all the subs. Not just people on the field. It’s everyone on the team that helps keep a clean sheet.”
Davis and Powell have had the advantage of being able to grow together for four years and learn the rigors and demands of the program. Powell went off of what Davis said that the credit went further than just them. He credits the people who passed through the program prior to his arrival.
“The traditions and culture of the program was really passed down from the seniors and juniors. We’ve been here for four years now and just being able to be together for the past couple years, and watching guys like Harry (Davis) step up into commanding roles on the defense has been really helpful. We really do defend as a unit.”
The dominance of the unit should not be a surprise. For the past four years the program’s record has continued to improve.
An 8-5-6 record in 2014 was followed with a jump to 16-4-2 in 2015. Then in 2016 the team lost only two times and of course this year they have yet to suffer a loss. The uptick in record correlates to a continually improving defense.
“Each year we try to step it up and put new things on our plate,” said Davis. “Over these four years we have really come together as a team. Not only the seniors but all the way down to the youngest freshman. We just learn and teach each other together.”
With nine seniors on the roster, consistency and routine have been keys to the Pride’s evolvement into a defensive juggernaut.
“Being able to play the same system, with the same people, season after season has been super helpful,” said Powell. “It’s allowed us to make little adjustments, keep building up, and improving to the point we’re at now.”
Of course, the mastermind behind the players is a coach. For Springfield, head coach Steffen Siebert is their rock and a man that all of his players consistently speak highly of.
“He’s played a huge rule for us,” said Davis about Siebert. “He’s the one who taught us our roles, and he taught them to a point that on the field we can sometimes read plays. He’s had a big impact on all of us and helped out tremendously.”
Powell echoed much of the same, “I’m sure I could speak on behalf of a lot of the senior class. When we first came in it was a huge culture shock. The positions, roles, and responsibilities we had to learn, coach helped tremendously with that.” While laughing Powell said, “We’ve gone from just running around, not really knowing what we were doing to a solid organized defensive unit. He’s been a huge mentor in that.”
With two more games remaining on their schedule before the NEWMAC tournament begins, the Pride know they can rely on a steady defense to carry them. Not every game needs to continue to be a shutout, but the intensity will remain high.
“Our system is surrounded by defensive structure,” said Powell. “It’s really important that at times we’re really compact and that we can spread out and attack from there. It’s going to be huge. Especially once we go further down the road and face more talented teams, we have to be on the same page.”
The Pride know that more tough tests are waiting for them soon. However, they also know that this season is no fluke. The accomplishments they have were earned and there are more to come.
Powell is confident and ready to move forward.
“We’ll just keep doing what we’ve been doing and getting better everyday.”
We’ll see if it’s possible to get better than only four goals allowed in a 13 game stretch.