For the first time since 1999 the Springfield College Men’s Soccer team captured the NEWMAC regular season title and will host the tournament this weekend.
The seeding for the tournament saw Springfield at No. 1. The team will receive a bye in the first round of tournament play. Behind the Pride there’s WPI at No. 2, Coast Guard at No. 3, Clark at No. 4, and MIT at No. 5.
Springfield did not allow any goals in matchups with those teams this season. The Pride picked up three victories and a 0-0 tie with WPI. Their track record looks promising, but come tournament time anything can happen.
The two seed, WPI, finished the year with a record of 12-5-1 and proved to be a tough opponent in their matchup with the Pride this year. WPI is a balanced unit, they averaged over two goals per game on the season and help opponents to under a goal per game.
WPI is lead by sophomore Paul Beatty and senior Brendan Nemes. The duo combined for 28 points and and 12 goals on the season. Beyond them, the scoring is very balanced throughout the rest of the roster. Nine other members of their team posted at least 5 goals or more on the season.
WPI opens NEWMAC play on Nov. 4 against Coast Guard.
Coast Guard, who finished the season at 10-4-3, is a similar team to Springfield in that they rely on a stingy defense. All 10 of their victories this season were shutouts and they allowed only 0.56 goals against them per game for the entire year.
Their issues are on offense. The team’s leading goal scorer is junior Alex Hall with five goals. This could be a problem and what ultimately plagues them come postseason play. If they cannot find a way to put the ball in the back of the net it could be a quick end to their season.
WPI and Coast Guard played earlier this year with WPI coming away winners, 2-, in overtime. We will see if the tournament provides a different result.
The four seed in the tournament is Clark who finished the season at 9-5-3. Clark’s record is a little bit surprising given that for the entire season their goal differential was only a +7 (32 scored versus 25 allowed.)
Clark was able to post nearly two goals per game but they gave up a high number as well (1.41 GAA.) Clark’s offense is carried by sophomore Sean Munroe who is an absolute star on offense. He put up 13 goals on the season and was the engine of their attack.
The Cougars ended the season with back to back victories and they will look to stay hot moving into their game. They play on Nov. 1, the first day of NEWMAC competition, against MIT.
MIT slid into the tournament as the fifth seed with a lowly record of 6-7-4. MIT boasts a solid defense (0.89 GAA), but their offense is an issue. They just barely averaged more than one goal per game, averaging 1.06 for the year.
Only nine members of the team scored a goal on the season. Freshman Loukas Carayannopoulos led the charge with seven goals, but behind him is 11 goals split between eight players. The lack of explosiveness is a bad omen heading into NEWMAC competition.
It remains to be seen if MIT can get hot at the right time and thrust themselves into contention for a NEWMAC Title.
When looking at the playing field it is clear that Springfield remains the favorites to win the tournament. They are capable of beating each one of these teams. Their task starts on Nov. 4 when they play the winner of the Clark and MIT matchup.
If they survive that, the championship game will take place at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 5 on the Pride’s home field.
Their chance for redemption of last year’s first round NCAA loss starts now.