Following Sunday afternoon’s match versus Endicott, the look on the face of the Springfield College Men’s Soccer coach Steffen Seibert said it all. A smile from ear to ear was not just on the coach, but on all of the Pride’s faces following sophomore Joe Labella’s second overtime game winning goal. Labella’s goal in the 118th minute gave the Pride a 2-1 win over Endicott at Springfield College.
With just 1:46 left in the game, fans had started to pack up their things expecting a draw between the two sides. All of a sudden, a scrum in front of the Endicott net hushed the Pride faithful as they noticed Springfield had one last chance at victory.
Junior forward Mike Fowler pulled the ball out of the crowd and fired it at the cage. After deflecting off of a Gull defender, the ball ricocheted to the right and landed directly at LaBella’s feet. With Endicott goalkeeper Austin Peluso out of position, the 5-foot-6 midfielder from Wethersfield, Conn. blasted the ball into the back of the net and instantly met the rest of his team rushing the field.
“I sprinted all the way down the field and the ball was being juggled around in the box, it squirted to me and I finished it,” said LaBella of his late game heroics. “We have been improving lately. We have been dominating teams lately but have just had bad luck.”
The goal snapped a four game losing streak for the Pride who are now 2-7 overall on the year. The loss brings Endicott to 4-3.
Just eight minutes into the second half senior Alex Reilly delivered a beautiful cross from the right wing and connected with sophomore midfielder Danny Amato on the back post who knocked it in on the move to open the scoring.
“We work a lot at practice on finishing. Those two [Amato and LaBella] and everyone else take that so seriously,” said Seibert about his team. “It shows when they got their chance they put them in. It was a great performance by not only them but the whole team. Both goals were scored because someone else was working hard to get the ball to them.”
At the 12:53 mark, a corner kick delivered by Gull sophomore midfielder Justin Lavalle found the head of classmate Alex Jorge and redirected into the net to even the score at one, bringing the game to extra time.
The Pride will look to carry this momentum into their next match at Eastern Nazarene this Wednesday.