By Danny Priest
Three hours, forty one minutes, and twenty-five seconds. That’s a long chunk of time and a lot can be accomplished in that period. Studying for a test, taking a nap, watching a game, and so much more.
For Springfield College men’s soccer and the Worcester Polytechnical Institute (WPI) Engineers the three hours and forty one minutes is not enough time. It has been that long since either of these teams has scored a regulation or overtime goal on the other.
Saturday was no different as the 0-0 tie in double overtime brought the streak of minutes played without a goal to where it is now. “I didn’t know that it had been that long and I don’t think it’s a representation of anything more than just two good teams battling together,” said Pride Head Coach Tommy Crabill.
“They’re very organized, really well coached, and you know that [going in] every time. I’m not surprised to hear a stat like that knowing how well they play and how well coached they are. I think we have a lot of similar traits. It’s nothing more than just two good teams playing against each other.”
The last time one of these teams put a goal in the back of the net during regulation was on October 8, 2016. Keon Haji scored with just over 11 minutes remaining in the game to give the Pride an eventual 2-1 win over the Engineers.
On Saturday, Springfield (11-3-1) had their chances. They amassed 19 shots (4 on goal) and made several pushes late in the game. In the second overtime Brad Deckel nealy curved in a shot off his left foot that would have ended things.
WPI was solid too. They had five shots on the goal in the game and took a total of nine corner kicks. Stewart Frank (5 saves) came up clutch for the Pride when he tipped a shot by WPI’s Jake Steinberg with his left hand to stop what looked like a sure-fire game breaking goal.
Frank went full extension and deflected the shot just in the nic of time before it would have tucked into the back right of the net. Frank was part of a stingy effort by the entire Springfield defense on the day.
The tie kept Springfield near the top of the NEWMAC standings where in conference play they are now 4-1-1. WPI is right on their heels with a conference record of 3-0-3. Saturday’s game looked and felt like a NEWMAC tournament game.
“You’re going to be in tons of tight matches, no matter who’s on the other side of the field. Down the stretch, that’s where you want to be, said Crabill. “You wanna be really excited about those moments, to go into those moments, and to prepare for those moments. You don’t want to be unfamiliar with that environment with tightness and the caginess to the match.”
Crabill got one of those tight matches on Saturday against an elite opponent for the Pride. He believes game like that one will only help moving forward.
“I don’t think our guys are unfamiliar with that environment at all, we’ve been in matches like that several times this year. I think we’re prepared, we’re just digging in the corners to try and find the little things we can get better at,” he said.
Springfield returns to action Tuesday night at 7 p.m. when they host Endicott College in a non conference matchup.
Featured photo courtesy of Springfield College Athletics