For most of Wednesday night’s clash between the Springfield College and Amherst College women’s soccer teams, the Lord Jeff’s appeared to be at the end of the Pride’s sword.
With just under 10 minutes to play, freshman midfielder Jessy Hale of Amherst hit a near perfect corner kick which consequently would be headed into the net by senior midfielder Emily Little. This proved to be the game-winning goal as the Springfield women fell to the Lord Jeffs by a score of 1-0 at Brock Affleck Field on the campus of Springfield College.
“Jessy kicked a nice ball and I got loose and headed it into the net,” said Little. “We played better this game than we have in the past two games, but Springfield was probably the best team we have played so far.”
The win keeps Amherst (3-0) perfect on the season as they have not allowed a single goal this season. Hale’s goal was just the fourth yielded by Springfield (4-2) goalkeeper Erin Greenstein in 2012.
Once scored on, the Pride did not surrender. With 2:07 left in the game, Springfield junior midfielder Ashley Carresi put a strike on cage that had everyone in the crowd on their feet. The ball hung in the air as if it was on a string, bending back towards the left post. Just as the ball made its decline at the net, a combination of the Lord Jeffs goaltender Holly Burwick’s (three saves) outstretched hands and the left post preserved the lead for Amherst.
“We made some more adjustments after they scored and hit the post,” said Springfield Coach John Gibson. “Overall I thought it was a really good game. Both teams played hard.”
The Lord Jeffs, coming off a record setting season with 20 victories, are one of the best teams Springfield will see all season. With returning All-American midfielder Kathryn Nathan, Amherst has been ranked No. 1 in the region and No. 6 in the nation by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) and d3soccer.com.
“We didn’t want to give away anything early, and early on we had the chances. The idea was not to let them overrun us at midfield and try and create spaces wide, cause outlets for us. We only played one forward which makes it harder for them to move forward with the ball,” said Gibson of his plan of action against the Lord Jeffs.
With 12:20 left in the match, Amherst junior forward Chloe Mackenzie broke through the Springfield defense and ended up all alone with Greenstein. The senior keeper deflected the shot and forced it just wide. Greenstein finished the game with five saves.
The Pride will host Smith College in their New England Men’s and Women’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) opener this Saturday at 1:00 p.m.