Assistant Sports Editor
Head coach John Gibson and senior captain Katie Mantie were in agreement following Tuesday night’s 5-0 victory over visiting UMass Dartmouth: “relentless” has been the key word of the season thus far, and the team put that into full effect on Tuesday.
Mantie admitted that the key to Tuesday’s non-conference contest, and for this Saturday’s conference game against Wheaton, would be to put away their first chance.
That was about the only thing Mantie and the Pride did not do, as Mantie broke free early but whistled her shot right into the goalkeeper’s hands.
Mantie more than made up for it as she converted on her next two tries, one off a beautiful pass from midfield.
Mantie put the team in front 2-0 within the first fifteen minutes, and the team seemed to be on cruise control from then on with the win never in doubt.
“That’s pretty much been the goal of every game,” said Mantie. “Scoring early is definitely a key.”
The early goals seemed to allow the team to relax and play the game the way they wanted to. It was evident to all players and coaches who were watching that Springfield was playing at a different level than the visitors. The Pride seemed faster, better conditioned and executed more often throughout the game.
The “relentless” attack was felt from start to finish, as many different players saw time and contributed on both the offensive and defensive end.
Mantie, a leader on the field, was quick to credit her teammates for their efforts and contributions.
“No matter who was out there, we played well, whether it was the first few minutes or the last five,” said Mantie, who now leads the team with nine goals.
For this year’s women’s soccer team, the talent is definitely there to make a run at the NEWMAC title. Gibson knows the key will be to keep the team hungry and to put forth their highest possible intensity for each and every game.
“Playing well and competing fiercely will be the key for us, just as it always is,” said Gibson, when asked about this Saturday’s match-up against the “evil empire” of Wheaton. “It’s at their place, so they may have an advantage there, but we’ll be ready.”
Mantie’s face lit up when asked about the match-up against Wheaton. Wheaton has knocked teams she has been on out of the playoffs frequently in past years. She considers them a familiar foe and will prepare for this game just like any other.
One underappreciated part of this particular game and this season for the women’s team has been junior goalkeeper Erin Greenstein. Greenstein provides steady play in goal and has allowed a mere three goals in the 924 minutes she has been in goal. She was well on her way to another shutout Tuesday, until Coach Gibson emptied the bench to make sure everyone got some action in the non-conference game.
She is also responsible for all eight wins and gives the Pride a solid net minder behind the defense whenever they take the field.
Other key contributors to note include sophomore Vicky DiNatale, who scored a goal on a penalty kick and had some beautiful passes early on. The goal of the night may have been Springfield’s fourth goal, as senior co-captain Jackie Moscardelli rifled a shot while spinning with a defender on her back in the 18-yard-box. Sophomore Kim Rasmussen added the Pride’s fifth goal in the 72nd minute of the game.
The win is the fourth in a row for Springfield, improving to 8-3-1 on the year. They will take on rival and No. 21 Wheaton Saturday on the road, looking to put their “relentless” attack to the test once again.
Dylan Tully may be reached at email@example.com