A dominant, unblemished, total team effort from the Springfield College men’s soccer team propelled them to a 2-0 shutout victory over the Framingham State Rams on Tuesday night at Brock-Affleck Field.
Despite the margin of victory being rather small, the score was not indicative of how the game truly transpired, as the Pride were able to control every facet of the game for all 90 minutes.
Jack Rosenberg netted his fourth goal of the year to get the scoring underway when the senior possessed a marvelous one-touch feed from sophomore Finn Welch and blasted a shot on the ground, whistling by Rams keeper Joseph Sturzo to jump Springfield out to a quick 1-0 lead in the eighth minute.
Junior Ethan Boileau sent a pass to Welch, who instantly back-heeled it to open space in the box, where Rosenberg was well on his way to. All the captain had to do was deliver a firm, accurate shot, and that’s exactly what he did.
“They were playing a very high backline, so I was just trying to find that space in between the center backs,” Welch said on how he was able to find an open area. “It worked on this occasion when Ethan played that ball behind me. We have a really fluid front three, so I’m just trying to find open space out there and either check to the ball or [get in behind the defense].”
Three minutes succeeding the Rosenberg rocket, the home white jerseys of the Pride — along with the crowd gathered at Brock-Affleck Field — were suddenly celebrating again thanks to Maitoe Suppasuesanguan.
Welch received a long pass from graduate student Derick Arhin and found himself room to let a shot fly just inside the top corner of the box. Welch booted it low and outside, forcing Sturzo to lunge after and deflect it away. The only problem for Sturzo; Suppasuesanguan was waiting patiently on the doorstep, and the ball ricocheted perfectly to him. He easily tapped in the rebound goal, making it 2-0 Pride in the 11th minute.
Springfield’s defense, which it has been all year, continues to be the deciding factor in their matches. With senior captain and defensive anchor Jack Costa unavailable in tonight’s game, Pride head coach Tommy Crabill was able to plug in a plethora of defenders to fill Costa’s hole. The overall depth of the Pride was on display, as Crabill distributed minutes to a total of 20 different members of the team.
“We have a ton of confidence in our whole roster,” Crabill began. “We’re just really happy with our training, how our guys are focused and want to contribute and make an impact in any way. We know Brandon Trent and Brad Bornn are ready to step into the backline and get the job done, we are confident in them and they are confident in themselves.”
The Pride defense was so commanding that junior Clay Knibbs (reigning Maroon Club Student-Athlete of the Week) did not record a single save until the 50th minute of the game, which ended up being his only one. Framingham State failed to pose any true scoring threat, and each of the five corners they took were handled easily by either Knibbs or the Springfield defense.
Springfield has now won three of their last four and remains a hold of momentum as they head into more consistent conference play. Welch predicts they will do just fine, granted they block out any distractions that may linger.
“I think it all depends on how we manage our distractions,” Welch offered. “We have the skill to win, and we know that. With school ramping up and practice getting longer, we’re all tired. I think honestly just managing those outside things other than soccer is super important. We need to block out the distractions when we come together for practice for two hours, or when we come together to play a game.”
Although it may have looked like flawless soccer to the naked eye, Crabill still sees room for improvement, even after a game where the Pride shut out their opponent, only allowing one shot on goal.
“We need to be cleaner when we have possession and make a team decision on when to attack and when to sit and possess. Part of it was we played 20 players tonight, which makes it harder to make a decision as a unit when you play so many guys. As the year goes on, we are getting closer and closer to making those clean team decisions, so hopefully, we can do that better moving forward,” commented Crabill.
Springfield (5-3) aims to win their fourth game in five tries when they travel to Worcester on Saturday morning for a 12:00 p.m. NEWMAC bout against WPI.
Photo: Gillian Dube / The Student