Middlebury’s Henley Hall received the ball at the Pride’s end of the field. In space, Hall dashed towards Pride Goalie Brenna Keefe while being chased by two Pride defenders. Fighting off the defenders, Hall got in front of Keefe and put a shot by her left shoulder for a goal. The tension in the Pride crowd rose, as chants of “Let’s go gray!” rang out from the Panthers crowd. The shot attempt was one of thirty for the Panthers, as Middlebury went on to beat Springfield, 7-3.
Going into the game, the Pride were coming off of a 17-1 win over Western New England and a 20-3 victory over Eastern Connecticut State. For the Panthers, they were coming off a 12-5 win against Bates College. The game was the first meeting between the Pride and the Panthers.
“Middlebury is a solid top team in the nation, but we prep for Middlebury like we prep for any other team we play,” said Springfield College coach, Kristen Mullady.
The first 12 minutes of the game saw an offensive attack by the Panthers as they relentlessly fired shots at Keefe. The Pride got on the scoreboard first, with a free shot goal by Ann Mahoney who split two Panthers defenders to give the Pride a 1-0 lead.
After more relentless pressure by the Panthers, Kirsten Murphy passed the ball from behind the Pride’s net to Jenna McNicholas. McNicholas found a cutting Emma McDonaugh for a shorthanded goal to tie up the game.
The Pride went on the offensive to start the second half. Springfield jumped out to a 3-1 lead with goals from Kate Sarnacki and Shelby Corsano in the first eight minutes of the half.
On a counter attack, Middlebury’s Hall made a run from the Pride’s end of the field past two defenders to cut down Springfield’s lead to one. Momentum started to build for Middlebury, as McDonagh put one past the blocker of Keefe to tie up the game at 3-3.
Hollis Perticone and Kirsten Murphy found their way past the Pride defense to give the Panthers a 5-3 lead by the 6:30 mark. After a Panther goal by Georgia Carroll to put Middlebury up 6-3, Carroll received a bounce pass from Murphy, she put another shot off Keefe’s blocker to put Middlebury up 7-3.
Middlebury outshot the Pride by a 30-9 margin. Keefe saved 16 of the 30 shots in an effort to keep Springfield in the game.
“We play a high pressure defense, but they kept coming at us,” said Mullady. “We just needed to do the small things better at the end of the game, which would have helped us.”
The Pride will be back in action Tuesday at home against Framingham State University.