By Hayden Choate
SPRINGFIELD — Coming into Wednesday afternoon’s contest against NEWMAC rival Babson, the Springfield college women’s soccer team were playing their third game in five days. After losing to Amherst, 2-0, on Monday the Pride wanted to get right back to their winning ways.
Sara Swetland’s goal 4:26 in the game was the first of five Springfield goals that helped lead them to a 5-2 victory over Babson. The Pride would then score 11 minutes later when Kaleigh Dale was awarded a penalty kick. Dale wasn’t done yet. Ten minutes later she ran through the middle of the field before turning the ball over then outracing a Babson defender to a loose ball, touched it to her left foot then fired a shot past the Babson goalkeeper Morgan Fedosiewich.
The Beavers came out after the half trying to get back into the game but Springfield’s defense would not let anything by.
With 23 minutes left in the second half, Springfield extended their lead to 4-0. Chrissy Conley made a great play sending Adalia Malick up the left side of the field. Malick, with a Babson defender chasing after her, took a perfectly placed shot with her left foot to put Springfield up by four.
“That’s one of the things that the defense has been practicing a lot in practice, is those flighted long-balls to the forwards, especially when they’re in space and Adalia has incredible speed,” said Conley. “On a day where the field was a little slick, the ball kind of just coasted and she really got right behind the defender and she had a lot of composure in front of the net and that was a great finish on her part.”
Conley, a senior captain has been a defensive standout for Springfield all-season and earned co-defensive NEWMAC player of the week this past week.
A little over a minute later, Maggie McCabe let a shot go from just outside of the box that sailed over Springfield goalkeeper Bridget O’Connor’s head putting Babson on the board.
Both teams would trade goals before the final whistle blew as the rain came down heavier and heavier.
For Springfield, Heather Jennato made a low cross off a corner kick straight to Swetland, who headed it in scoring her second goal of the game. Babson added another tally with just over six minutes left when Deanna Ruggiero took a shot from the left side of the penalty box that went over O’Connor to the right side of the net.
The Pride improved to 10-3-1, while the Beavers dropped to 5-7-1, ending a pivotal three-game stretch for the Pride. Springfield blanked Wellesley, 7-0 on Saturday then lost to Amherst 2-0.
“I told the players, if you told me I could have had two of those three, those are the two I would have taken,” said Springfield head coach John Gibson. This was the first time Springfield had beaten Babson in the regular season since 2016.
With four games left in the regular season, all NEWMAC contests, the Pride now travel to Smith next Tuesday.
“We just fight for each other when we’re out there and we know that when we step foot on the field it’s going to be all heart, all belief and you got to put the shield in the person in front of you to fight the battles and hopefully you’ll come out on top and we did,” said Conley.