By Braedan Shea
As the clock on Stagg Field at Springfield College struck zero, and the horn blared － signaling the game had ceased, the Pride stormed the field in excitement, throwing down their sticks and embracing one another. On Wednesday, for the second time in as many games this season, Springfield proved that they don’t crack under pressure in its 13-11 nail-biting victory against Framingham State University (FSU).
Just like they did a week prior, in their incredible 10-9 last-second victory against Roger Williams University, the Pride came up big in the end game to secure a win. But this time it was the defense that propelled the team to a victory.
In the waning minutes of the game, the Pride successfully locked up on defense, preventing Framingham from mounting any sort of comeback.
Following a goal from Framingham State sophomore midfielder Regan Fein, which cut the lead to just one for Springfield, 12-11, the Pride found themselves with their backs against the wall. A yellow card with just 3:15 remaining in regulation by Springfield senior midfield Katie Martell did not make the situation any easier.
But the pressure did not faze sophomore goalie Haley Moody, as in these final minutes she showed what she is made of, blocking the goal as if she was a cement wall. She accumulated 4 of her 9 total saves in the final three minutes.
The defense continued to be the deciding factor, as a Framingham State turnover with just a minute left to play quickly turned into a Springfield goal by midfielder Holly Rivers, thanks to a great set up from senior attack Taylor Pichel. This goal turned out to be the nail in the coffin for The Rams.
“Honestly, it is that in practice, I get a ton of good shots from our attackers,” said Moody in reference to how she stayed composed at the end. “Our goalie coach also has rockets, so knowing that her shots are faster than what most players will be on us, it’s knowing that I can do this, and I have my teammates behind me.”
Springfield was the first to strike － scoring its first goal at 14:21 in the first quarter on an unassisted goal from Pichel. FSU had a quick response － tallying it’s first goal at 13:01 thanks to Fein. They struck again at 9:41 for the only lead it would hold. The Pride dug deep, and by the time the first quarter was over, they had accumulated six unanswered goals, which gave them a 7-2 lead and plenty of momentum.
In the second quarter, FSU’s Fein got red hot. With 3:44 left in the half, she drove left before spinning right and unleashing a ridiculous pass that threaded the needle to first-year attack Leah Green. She swiftly scored to make the score 7-4 in Springfields favor. With 1:53 to go, Fein again started on the left side, but drove right, and unleashed a masterful underhand shot that just snuck under the reach of Moody.
The third quarter was a back and forth affair, with each team going shot for shot. By quarter’s end, Springfield’s lead was cut down to just two at 11-9. But, much like that first game, they stood strong thanks to the leadership they credit.
“We have a lot of leaders on our team,” said Springfield head coach Kristen Mullady. “I would like to say that all of them are leaders, including the support from our bench. I would say that we have gamers － players who want to win － so they are fighting all the way until the last second. The leadership really shows up in these kinds of games.”
Winning these close games early in the season are extremely important for the team, especially if they look to get their second consecutive NEWMAC Championship appearance.
“(These types of games are) very incredibly important, because it is great to build on,” said Moody. “We have had two really close games that have tested us early. It is a mountain that we keep climbing, and it is nice to have these tests early, because if you don’t get tested, by the end of the season, when you are getting tested, you don’t know how to stay composed. We have shown a lot of composure through these two games.”
Keeping composure is something very important to the Pride.
“I think we were getting a little bit more on edge,” said Jade O’Connor, who scored the heroic last second goal in their previous game. “But we knew we had to keep our composure and especially on offense － like those bad passes or times we didn’t catch the ball － those were going to be the difference between a win and a loss. I knew that we had to keep our space, get big and really find those wide open goals.”
Springfield looks to take their momentum into next week’s road game against Amherst, on Tuesday, March 8.
Photo: Springfield College Athletics