By Danny Priest
SPRINGFIELD – The Springfield College men’s soccer team has played in only three home games this year out of 11 games overall. On Tuesday night, the team hosted the Framingham State Rams for a non-conference matchup on the friendly confines of Brock-Affleck field.
It rained for much of the pregame, then when gametime rolled around the skies settled down and the first half was smoothing sailing until the final five minutes. In those minutes a heavy rain poured down and it carried into the second half, but as the sky opened up, so to did the Springfield offense as the team scored two goals in 1:34 of gametime to give themselves a 2-0 lead.
After that outburst of offense, Springfield (8-3) did not look back and the Pride cruised to a 2-0 victory over the Rams. The win was the third straight overall for the group, and the second consecutive shutout for the team.
“I was really happy with the excitement and assertiveness in the second half,” head coach Tommy Crabill said of his team’s win. “With the flury in the second half, we’re trying to learn a little bit of opportunism and that’s a really tough thing to learn. I’m really happy that we put some points on the board in the second half, even happier that we kept a shutout at home.”
In the second half, flood gates opened when Christian Schneider took a pass and raced down the sidelines for Springfield. Schneider slowed down his pace, and senior Brad Deckel raced down the center of the field towards the net, Schneider hit him in stride with a pass.
Deckel, who took seven shots in the first half with no success, finally cashed in and buried the shot to put his team ahead 1-0.
The goal added to the point totals this season for both Deckel and Schneider, who were already first and second on the team, respectively. Deckel now has four goals and two assists for 11 points this year, while Schneider has three goals and one assist for eight points.
The two senior captains have been rocks for their head coach this season. “They’ve given so much to the program, we’re going to ride them for that. They’ve worked hard into their fourth years, they’re both leaders,” Crabill said of the duo.
The second goal for the Pride followed 1:34 later when Jack Rosenberg drilled a shot into the back of the net unassisted. The goal was the first of the freshman’s season and career with the Pride and it gave his team a 2-0 advantage.
Overall, the Pride played very aggressive in the game. In the first half they took 15 shots (three on goal) and they had several opportunities where the shots just missed finding the back of the net.
The play style was less a product of gameplan, and more an indictment of the style the Pride want to play, according to their coach.
“Of course we want to put up tons of shots, but like I said we’re trying to learn opportunism. We do training, patterns, and shooting all of the time,” Crabill said. “When it’s open, they’re always encouraged to take it. We want to be an attacking team, we want to be a team that plays forward and tries to test the goalkeeper in every game.
The game was business as usual for the Springfield defense. The team recorded their sixth shutout of the season, they surrendered only one corner kick, and they kept their foul count down; committing only eight for the game.
Stewart Frank was able to record five saves, lowering his goals against per game average for the season to a stingy 0.64.
Next up for Springfield is a conference matchup at home on Saturday against Emerson College. The game will begin at noon, as the Pride will look to keep pace atop the NEWMAC Conference where they currently sit in first place.
Featured photo courtesy of Springfield College Athletics