The Pride’s fall sports teams have been off to a tremendous start this season and the men’s soccer team have been no exception. The team carried an undefeated record of 6-0 heading into Tuesday’s matchup and aimed to keep up its solid play against the Wentworth Leopards.
Springfield entered the day ranked 18th in the United Soccer Coaches ranking and have been relying on a strong defense (0.33 goals allowed per game) in the early going of the season.
That steady defense was visible in this game, but we also saw an offensive explosion. On the year, Springfield has averaged a shade over three goals per game. The team managed to double that output and ran away with a dominant 6-2 victory over the Leopards.
Pride head coach Steffen Siebert attributed the win to a total team effort and everyone being ready to play.
“We really needed 25 people to step up today and to be game ready whenever they’re called upon,” said Siebert. “We know it doesn’t matter who plays. We have a great starting 25.”
Springfield did not let a 90 degree day in late September stop them from coming out with a lot of energy early on. The team played with much more urgency than Wentworth, and that effort resulted in a quick goal. Brad Deckel kicked a perfect cross in front of the net that Junior Christian Schneider was able to head into the net 7:22 into the first half and gave the Pride an early lead.
Springfield did not let up after their first score. They remained in attack mode and controlled possession. At the 17 minute mark they cashed in once again when Curtis Bolduc got behind the defense on a nice feed from Schneider and scored off the post to give Springfield a 2-0 lead.
The fun didn’t stop there. Four minutes later, Keon Haji scored with assists from Christian Schneider and Nick Fontana. The Pride made a lot of substitutions in the first half which helped keep them fresh under such hot conditions, and was a part of the reason they built a nice lead.
Wentworth tacked on a goal with just under 7 minutes to go in the half from Michael Zendan. It looked like the Leopards may have been stealing some momentum, but the Pride had an answer again.
Freshman Emmanuel Agyemang and Freddy Clark had a little fun and increased the Springfield lead. First, Agyemang led Clark with a great pass for a goal. Then, 1 minute and 14 seconds later, Agyemang scored off an assist from Brendan Claflin. The Pride went into the half with a 4 goal advantage and some big smiles on their faces.
The two freshmen have made a good impression on their coach in the early going.
“Adapting to the college game is tough and those guys have done it incredibly well,” said Siebert. “They’re coming in against a Wentworth team who plays incredibly great soccer all over New England and they play some really tough teams. They come in like they’ve been doing this for years and I’m just really proud of them.”
The second half did not feature nearly as much action as the first half, but the Pride still found a way to add on to their lead. Junior Xavi Arroyo buried a free kick 9 minutes into the second half to swell the lead to 6-1.
From that point on it was a lot more of a prevent strategy and eating the clock to close things out for the Pride. The defense did what they do best and Springfield was able to roll their way to an easy win. A Wentworth goal with 17 seconds remaining made the final score 6-2.
Next up is a conference matchup on Saturday against Clark University. Coach Siebert wants to keep chemistry high going forward.
“Everything we do is as a team. When we attack, we attack as a team. When we defend, we defend as a team. It’s really important everybody knows at each moment where to be and what to do.”
The game Saturday is at 1 p.m and it is at Clark University. Every conference game is crucial and the Pride will look to keep up their cohesiveness and hot play going forward.