The Springfield College men’s soccer season ended their 2013 season on Sunday, Nov. 17 by winning the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference Division III New England Championship by a score of 3-0. Springfield College, the top-ranked team in the tournament, defeated the second-ranked team, Lasell College, at Brock-Affleck Field.
The Pride recorded their 15th win in 21 total games, as they finished with a 15-6 record. The Lasers received only their fourth loss of the season, and finished their 2013 campaign with a record of 17-4-2.
Springfield College reached the finals via a bye in the quarterfinals and then by beating the Norwich University Cadets 2-0 in the semifinals on Saturday. Lasell College paved their path by beating Lesley University 2-0 in the quarterfinals on Wednesday, Nov. 13 and Worcester State University on Saturday by a score of 3-2.
The game was very physical, as five yellow cards were handed out, and even until Springfield College senior Ryan Malone got one past Lasell College’s sophomore goalkeeper Miguel Colmenares in the 24th minute of action.
“Getting that early goal right away is huge in soccer. It gives you so much momentum going into the rest of the game,” Malone said. “We did what we had to do to get the ball on their end, and then the ball got played through to me and I was able to put it in.”
Not only did Malone’s goal put the Pride up 1-0 midway through the first half, but it also tied history. The Chicopee, Mass. native scored his 13th goal of the season, which ties the record for the most scored in a single season for Springfield College since the Pride moved to Division III in 1995. The goal was assisted by sophomore forward Austin Vico.
Less than 15 minutes later, Springfield College junior Drew Sommer scored a goal of his own to put the Pride up 2-0. Sommer, a West Chester, Pa. native, struck the ball into the back of the net in the 38th minute of play.
Shortly after halftime, Springfield College junior Kevin Nowak joined in on the fun as he got a goal of his own. Senior forward Michael Fowler assisted the third goal of the rainy afternoon. Fowler was eventually named the Most Outstanding Player of the entire tournament, as he also had an assist during Saturday’s contest. The Maynard, Mass. native was happy to go out with a win and the honor.
“I got the pleasure and opportunity to end my career here with my best friends on the field at the same time. There aren’t a lot of people who are able to say that,” Fowler said. “It’s an unbelievable experience and I love these guys and I always will. That doesn’t end today and it never will. It’s a great way to go out with these guys.”
It was definitely an emotional afternoon for both teams, as many seniors played their last soccer game.
After Springfield College received their first-place trophy from ECAC representative Ben Rosenfeld, the team congregated, took pictures and gave head coach Steffen Siebert an ice cold Gatorade bath. Siebert took it in good spirits.
“I just want to enjoy the moment,” Siebert said. “I’m so happy for these seniors, and the rest of the team that they got what they deserved. We worked incredibly hard and always kept improving, and we ended up with the trophy, which I think is everybody’s dream. It just makes me really happy for them.”