By Kevin Saxe
SPRINGFIELD — On a steamy afternoon at Supernant Field on the campus of Western New England, the Springfield College women’s soccer team followed the lead of field hockey as they cruised to their third straight victory with a 7-1 beatdown of their crosstown rival.
Springfield’s offensive outburst started early and often in the sweltering heat of Wednesday afternoon. Just 4:10 into the first half, freshmen Kaleigh Dale broke in on Western New England goalie Marissa Veilleux and drilled a shot past her to give the Pride an early 1-0 lead. Senior Amanda Wright decided one was not enough as just over two minutes later off a feed from grad student Kellie Gambell. She drilled one past Veilleux to give the Pride a two-goal lead.
After two early goals, a combination of Veilleux and the Pride not being able to put shots on goal kept them stagnant for nearly thirty minutes. However Dale once again got behind the Golden Bears defense and buried her second of the game to make it 3-0. Just over three minutes later, junior Sydney Wine joined the scoring to make it 4-0 to close the scoring for Springfield in the first half.
Not to be overlooked, the Pride defense once again held an opponent to one or less in the goal column as the lone goal for Western New England game from Lauren Leblanc with 2:02 remaining in the game. Senior goalie Jackie Davis who got the start and classmate Izzy Inglese, who finished off the win, combined to make four saves in goal. Meanwhile for the Bears, Veilleux and Shannon Murphy combined to make four saves in the setback. In total the Pride outshot the Golden Bears 23-8.
In the second half the offensive barrage continued as Springfield would net three goals that included the first of individual achievements for each of the goal scorers. First up was Dale as she beat Murphy to complete her first collegiate hat trick. Following were classmates, Heather Jennato and Maddy Bonavito who each scored their first collegiate goals and extended the Pride’s lead to seven.
Pride Getting Production on Both Sides of the Ball
Through three games Springfield has tallied fourteen goals and outscored opposing teams 14-2. They have also combined to outshoot opponents 58-14 in that stretch.
Offensively both the young guns and the wily vets have contributed, especially Wright and Dale. Both players are currently tied for the team lead with four goals. While the Pride’s offense continues to dominate, the defense quietly does their job as in front of both goalies, Davis (two starts) and freshmen Bridget O’Connor (one start). Limiting teams to just two goals and limiting shots on goal, the Pride defense as a unit continues to shine as the offense takes a front seat. However, as conference play starts and games begin closer, look for the Pride defense to play a big role in the success of this team.
Springfield (3-0) will look to continue their hot start to the season when they travel to Endicott on Saturday at 1 PM. Western New England travels to Bangor, Maine on Saturday to face off against UMass-Boston in a tournament hosted by Husson University.
*Featured photo courtesy of Springfield College Athletics