Midway through the first half, Wheaton forward Sadie Reicht received a pass from her teammate Gaby Diaz and kicked the ball through the goal to give the Lyons a 1-0 lead.
Wheaton had broken the scoreless tie and it looked as if they had all the momentum in what was to be a fierce battle of conference foes.
But the Pride had other plans.
With 13 minutes left in the half, Springfield Senior Kaleigh Dale received a pass from Kaitlyn Suller and kicked it head on straight at the goal.
At first, it looked like it may be high, but the ball quickly knocked off the top of the crossbar and into the net.
Then, less than 10 minutes later, Dale received another pass from Jen Walker and put it in the net again – bringing her within one goal of tying Angel Scholfield for the Springfield College all-time goals scored record.
Not even five minutes into the second half, Meredith Healey added a goal of her own to put the Pride up by two.
Those two goals were all Springfield needed as they cruised to a 3-1 win and improved their NEWMAC conference record to 6-2, and overall record to 8-4-1.
Despite the result being a win, Springfield Head coach Kristin Cannon knows it’s never an easy task facing a conference opponent.
“Wheaton is a really good team…they have a lot of fast and technical players that cause a lot of problems,” Cannon said. “Our whole team stepped up…we found the spaces we needed to find.”
Although the offense woke up and eventually put in three goals, it was the defense that stepped up and kept Wheaton from getting back in the game.
“The first goal was a miscommunication on the back line,” Goaltender A.Harper said. “After that, we really locked it in…we didn’t panic.”
Going into halftime, the Pride knew it wasn’t going to be easy and the message was simple; play their game, not Wheaton’s.
“We just [had] to stay calm and keep playing how we play,” Harper said. “You have to play like it’s a 0-0 game…we know we’re the better team and let’s play like it.”
The Pride definitely played like it was tied, as they scored three unanswered goals and never let Wheaton back in the game.
The elite defense, though, has been a common theme as this is Springfield’s eighth straight game allowing two goals or less.
Coming off a loss against W.P.I., Cannon knew how important it was to get back on track in conference play.
“You never want to lose back-to-back games,” Cannon said. “Today felt really good for everybody.”
The Pride will wrap up the regular season with two games against conference opponents, both on the road, as they travel to Worcester to take on Clark next Wednesday, before finishing out in Boston next Saturday to face Emerson.
Photo Courtesy of Springfield College Athletics