As Springfield College goalkeeper Brenna Keepe stood 20 yards out of her net with the ball in her stick, she looked to her right and noticed a teammate and decided to send her the pass. Unfortunately, Amherst College’s Julia Crerend read the pass the whole way and made an easy steal. She brought the ball forward and flung a pass to her teammate, Bella Edo, who netted the quick strike.
This play encapsulated the entire game, as the Pride were outplayed most of the day and fell to a tough Amherst College squad by a final score of 14-2.
Amherst’s Tough Play:
Coming into play on Tuesday night, the Mammoths held a sturdy record of 5-0 and were the 11th ranked team in the nation. The Pride faced a ranked opponent earlier in the year but, fared better the first time out only falling to the 22nd ranked Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, 12-8.
Amherst bombarded the Pride’s net with shots all night; outshooting Springfield 23-10. Their quickness and aggressiveness caused a rough night for the Pride. The Mammoths scored six goals within the first 25 minutes, and within that span, the Pride only had four shots.
“They have a lot of depth,” said Springfield Head Coach Kristen Mullady. “Their ball movement took our defense out of our game and we weren’t able to make the adjustments to slow them down.”
Whenever the Pride held the ball in the Mammoths zone close to the net, they would struggle to get shots off due to the tough collapsing defense. Three, even four, players at a time would fall down the the ball carrier taking away the shot lane. On multiple occasions, the Mammoths caused the Pride to hold onto the ball when a shot opportunity was present and forced them to clear it back out to their midfielders.
Bright spots for the Pride:
In a 14-2 blowout, it is tough to find any strong things to talk about. Although the Pride were seemingly dominated the whole night, they did have a few highlights.
Springfield’s first score occurred with 2:32 left in the first half. Amanda Nusbaum took a pass in the left part of the Mammoths defensive zone and outran five to six players to get to the right side and fire a shot to the top left corner of the net right past the previously perfect goalkeeper.
After being down 8-1 at the half, the Pride came out as the stronger team. With 23:23 on the clock, Amanda Nusbaum sprinted down half the length of the field eventually giving up the ball to her open teammate Allie Goddard who fired a shot into the goal for the Pride’s second and final goal of the night.
Although the offense halted there, the Pride played some solid defense out of the half. After giving up eight first half goals, the Pride held the Mammoths scoreless for the first 10 minutes of the second half. Some credit to this great stretch of defense must go to the Pride goalkeeper Brenna Keefe. She had her struggles, but she showed flashes when she stopped back to back Amherst shots within five yards on two occasions.
Bouncing back will be critical for the Pride. Mentally, it is hard to let go a 14-2 handling but Springfield will need to do so to get back on the right track when they have their first conference game against MIT this Saturday.
MIT has always been a formidable opponent for the Pride in every sport. Last season, the Pride got their number by taking the first matchup in easy fashion beating them 16-3. The second time around came during the NEWMAC semifinals and was a much closer affair. The Pride ended up coming on top by a final score of 11-10.
This season, MIT will enter their matchup against the Pride with an underwhelming record of 1-3. “They always give us a good battle,” said Mullady. “We need to do the little things better on both sides of the ball if we want to get on the right foot in our conference.”
The Pride will host MIT Saturday at noon on Stagg Field. This will be the second of a four game home stretch for Springfield.
Featured photo courtesy of Reef Rogers.