Maitoe Suppasuesanguan struck louder than thunder.
The freshman forward blasted a shot by Williams keeper Ben Diffley in the 87th minute to break a scoreless dogfight on Wednesday night, proving Springfield College victorious, 1-0.
“That was the best college goal I have ever seen in person or video,” junior goalkeeper Klay Knibbs claimed. “And it was super clutch too, we were celebrating like we won the World Cup Final. It was literally the best goal I’ve ever seen.”
Sophomore Finn Welch delivered a beautifully placed corner into the box that found classmate Sebastian Correia. Correia booted a shot into a wall of Williams defenders, which then deflected the ball directly towards the feet of Suppasuesanguan. Standing just inside the 18, he timed up a volley, and met it perfectly. A laser beam that no keeper in the NCAA would dare get in front of ripped into the top left corner of the goal, winning the game for the Pride.
For Suppasuesanguan, scoring his first goal wearing THE jersey in tonight’s game was extra special, as he knew his father was watching and patiently waiting for his son to make an impact.
“I don’t know [what was going through my head]. I just saw there were three minutes left, and I thought to myself that my dad was watching and I really needed to help the team too,” Suppasuesanguan began. “I’m really glad I got my first goal with that shot, and when I scored everything kind of stopped, it made it so perfect.”
With a steady dose of rain pouring down – each ball leaving a spouting trail of water as it was kicked – and a thick layer of fog submerging onto Brock-Affleck Field, and two tremendous teams coming geared and amped to compete, scoreless, competitive soccer was adamant from the opening kickoff.
“It was just two good teams that were organized and trying to [execute their gameplans] and we kept stopping each other,” said Pride head coach Tommy Crabill. “We had some nice movements, they had some nice movements, and the weather definitely made it fun for the players so I’m sure they enjoyed that.”
Knibbs has had as good a start to the season as any keeper in the NEWMAC, and tonight’s performance from the junior emulated just that. He totaled five saves in the first half alone, dismissing any small sense of opportunity Williams had. Crabill lauded at his powerful presence in the box thus far.
“Anytime you have a very disciplined and confident spine of the team, which starts at goalkeeper, it gives a lot of confidence to his teammates, and he draws a lot of confidence to our other goalkeepers during training. I’m not surprised at all to see him playing so well,” Crabill offered.
The best chance Willaims had all night came rather early on in the game, when first-year Dylan Kelemen collected a through ball behind the Springfield back line. Keleman took one touch, and barely snuck a shot past Knibbs, skimming the left post before finding the back of the net. The only problem; Kelemen was offsides, and the goal was nullified to keep the score at 0 apiece.
Coming out of the break, the Pride jumped all over Williams, dominating time of possession and creating several tremendous scoring opportunities. However, according to Crabill, no adjustments were made, it was simply Springfield College men’s soccer matching the level of play that Springfield College men’s soccer desires.
“There weren’t really any adjustments, it was more just being confident. We all have a vision in our minds of what our best can look like, and I think the second half was fantastic. It was a super exciting and entertaining second half performance and we’re thrilled with it. It was a great game and they deserve the outcome they got tonight,” Crabill stated.
Springfield’s back line continues to pass every test that is thrown their way, and with as much veteran experience as they have back there, they will surely anchor this team the rest of the way. Between senior captain Jack Costa, graduate transfer Derrick Arhin, junior Patrick Silva, and of course Knibbs in the box, even a team with the arsenal of weapons that Williams has could not find a way to maneuver through the Pride’s brick wall.
The Pride look to make it three in a row this Saturday when they head to Cambridge to take on MIT in their second NEWMAC contest of the year.
Photo: Springfield Athletics