On a cold halloween night, Pride women’s soccer hosted Wellesley in the first round of the NEWMAC tournament. The women came into the game confident after handily beating Wellesley earlier in the season, 4-1.
Springfield outlasted Wellesley without injured starters Amanda Wright and Monique Marcelino in a game that needed penalty kicks to decide the outcome. The women won 7-6 in penalty kicks by leaning on the play of younger players and goalie Ciara Boucher to get the hard fought win.
“It’s just one thing after another,” said head coach John Gibson. “We talk in the locker room about being dealt bad hands from three weeks ago when we started losing people. I told them ‘Being good does not start with having the best cards in your hand, it is how you play the cards you got’. I think that we play the cards really well.”
The first half saw mostly back and forth play with no team really pulling away. Wellesley looked determined throughout the entire half and played aggressively throughout. The Pride managed to get off two shots on goal to Wellesley’s one.
In the second half, Wellesley came out looking tired from their defensive effort during the first half. This allowed the Pride more opportunities in the second half as they were able to get off four shots on goal to Wellesley’s zero.
Wellesley managed to not let the Pride find the back of the net forcing the game into extra time. Both team’s defenses were stifling during this twenty minute period, not allowing either side to have any shots on goal.
The game then went into a penalty shootout where the Pride leaned on its younger players; six out of seven of penalty shots scored were by underclassmen.
In the ninth round of the penalty shootout sophomore defender Nikki Kerr converted and Boucher managed to make her third save of the shootout to secure the win for the Pride.
Springfield will face off against top seeded MIT in the semifinals of the NEWMAC tournament on Saturday at 10:30 a.m in Cambridge. The Pride will look to upset MIT who has dominated the rest of the conference all year and defeated the Pride last week, 4-0.
Gibson is optimistic on the team’s chances against MIT:
“We did not have any depth last time we played them. We’re not confident of winning but we are confident in playing and making a proper game of it. They are a very good team. That is the best MIT team I have seen since I have been here.”