The Springfield College women’s soccer team defeated the Mount Holyoke Lyons Saturday afternoon by a score of 4-2 behind a hat trick from junior striker Nina Vital. The hosting Pride have improved their record to 10-4-1 overall and 7-1 in NEWMAC conference play.
After back and forth play for the first 20 minutes of the game, Vital finally broke the scoreless barrier when she dribbled the ball past a Lyon defender and snuck the ball into the right side of the net.
Just three minutes later, Vital was at it again when senior captain Mary Hogan kicked a through ball past the Mount Holyoke backline and the speedy striker from Ludlow, Mass. burned by her defender and placed the ball past goalkeeper Mackenzie Randall.
Although having a great individual effort, Vital was quick to distribute the credit to her teammates.
“Everyone on the team played well,” said the junior. “I wouldn’t have had any of those goals without any of my teammates making great runs and making plays. I’m happy that we all played well together.”
The Pride continued to pour on the offense in the first half when junior defender Vicky DiNatale collected a corner kick in the 34th minute and powered the ball into the back of the net to put her team up three.
Although down three goals, the Lyons came into the second half with immense energy, creating scoring chance after scoring chance. In the 51st minute, Mount Holyoke finally got on the board when freshman midfielder Ali Rossi sent the ball past the Springfield defense, allowing sophomore Hannah Yee to catch up to it and fire it past Pride goalkeeper Erin Greenstein.
“We played really well in the second half, I am pleased with that,” said Mount Holyoke coach Kanae Haneishi. “We knew Springfield was a good team. We tried to play a possession game but in the second half we wanted to attack, I am pleased with how we played.”
Following the goal, the Pride settled down and regained control of the game. In the 67th minute, freshman striker Nicole Fowler dribbled past her defender and had a breakaway with only Randall to beat. The defender dragged her down from behind and the referee immediately pointed to the middle of the box, signaling a penalty kick.
Springfield head coach John Gibson then pointed to Vital to take the free kick, in hope that his hard working junior Vital would provide his team with some insurance. Vital took a deep breath and fired the ball to into the left side of the net, completing her first hat trick for Springfield.
“I will be going to the bookstore to buy Nina a hat,” joked Gibson. “Nina’s two early goals were great individual efforts. We got to play a lot of people and I’m pleased with how we played today.”
The Pride will look to continue their successful season this Tuesday night when they host Roger Williams in a non conference match up.