On a brisk Tuesday night under the bright lights at Brock-Affleck field, Springfield College Pride women’s soccer (9-1) hosted the Clark University Cougars (5-3-1). The Pride came into the game looking to win its third straight game after a 7-0 win last week over Mount Holyoke. The Cougars looked to get a big win over the Pride and move up in the NEWMAC standings.
Springfield defeated the Cougars 4-2 in a game that was close throughout and saw the Pride pull away late. Three goals in just under ten minutes helped the Pride pull away late in the second half. Gabrielle Fernandes led the way for the Pride Tuesday night by scoring two goals and assisting on another.
Springfield started of the game aggressively early on, shooting three shots on goal through the first ten minutes and four within the first 20. However, the Pride were unable to connect on any of those shots.
Clark quickly slowed down the Pride with its physical play and tough defense. But this defense did not turn into offense, as the Cougars only managed to get off three shots on the Pride’s defense, two of which were on goal.
The second half of the game started off with both teams looking pretty evenly matched. Until Mikaela Cody took advantage of a mishandled ball by the Cougar’s goalie Juliana Christie and broke the tie with a goal at the 55 minute mark.
The Cougars recovered quickly after the goal and the game continued pretty even. Then at the 66 minute mark, the Pride’s defense let up a goal to Clark senior Emma Denault to tie the game at 1-1.
At the 68 minute mark, Pride head coach John Gibson subbed in Mackenzie Lewis, Amanda Wright, Meghan Sastram and Gabrielle Fernandes into the game. This substitution proved to be the key moment of the game as these four helped to put the game out of Clark’s reach.
“The substitutive group that we put in really executed exactly what we needed to do for the win,” Gibson said.
At the 75 minute mark, sophomore Meghan Sastram scored to give the Pride a sigh of relief and a bit of a cushion. Only a minute later, sophomore Gabrielle Fernandes scored a tough goal to give the Pride a commanding 3-1 lead over the Cougars. Fernandes got her second goal on the day at the 85 minute mark to give to the Pride a commanding 4-1 lead.
“In the second half we really came out and played our game,” Fernandes said. “We figured out how they play and I think I did a good job at getting behind the high line.”
Clark University responded with a goal in the 88th minute but the comeback effort was too late.
The Pride’s four goals in the win totals 17 goals in the past three contests. The women hope to continue this dominance and move to 10-1 this Saturday at Wellesley College.