By Kevin Saxe
SPRINGFIELD — Senior day, a day for reflecting on and celebrating student athletes who have poured their heart and soul into playing the sport they love. For the Springfield College women’s soccer team, Saturday was that day.
As the cloud coverage creeped over Brock Affleck Field, the Pride honored their six seniors; Jackie Davis, Aly Morell, Hope MacDonald, Rachel Feliu, Amanda Wright, and Izzy Inglese. Unfortunately, for the Pride they were unable to dethrone NEWMAC frontrunner MIT as they fell 3-1. Despite the result, head coach John Gibson talked about what this senior class has meant to the program.
“This bunch achieved a lot. They’re integral to how we want to play. I think once you’ve had somebody for four years there’s an attachment to them and they know what’s expected of them.”
For both teams, the game got off to a slow start as through the first twenty-five minutes there was just two shots combined between the teams. The Engineers were able to find the breakthrough when Karenna Groff took the ball up the left side, before cutting over the middle and unleashing a shot that just barely got through Inglese in new for the Pride. The one goal would standup for the Engineers with the Pride unable to create any quality chances.
In the second half the Engineers flexed their muscles as two goals in a 4:06 stretch to extend the lead to 3-0. After pushing back, just over a minute later Kaleigh Dale, took a direct free kick just outside of the box and Sara Swetland rose above the defense of MIT to score her fourth goal of the season.
Despite the goal from Swetland and multiple chances from the likes of Nikki Kerr and Amanda Wright, the Pride were unable to draw any closer than two. Despite the result Coach Gibson remained optimistic in terms of the teams play and their performance on Saturday.
“I thought we made better chances in the second half, but I actually thought we played better in the first half so giving up the goal was a disappointment. I thought we did a lot of good things that we talked about before the game.”
For the Pride despite the loss they remain in sole possession of second place in the NEWMAC standings. With the loss they are 6-2, while third place WPI tied Wellesley 0-0 Saturday to go to 5-2-1in the conference.
Had WPI won they would’ve been tied for second with Springfield. For each team they have two remaining conference games. Springfield hosts Wheaton on Wednesday night, while WPI hosts the battle of Engineers as they take on MIT Tuesday afternoon.
The second of those games for each team is against each other as the Pride will travel to Worcester on Saturday in a game that depending on results of the mid-week games could have significant meaning in terms of conference tournament seeding. Gibson mentioned the changed format of the conference tournament as to why the second seed is important.
“We have to win the last two games to be guaranteed in second. With the semifinals now being at the highest seeds on a Thursday, instead of at the conference champions, and playing Saturday and Sunday where the second semifinal is kind of buried in that format, where you finish is now important. The difference between second and third was nothing last year, now it’s at least another home game.”
In a game where the Pride fell by two they outshot the Engineers 13-12, but the Engineers held the advantage in shots on goal at 7-5. The seniors Davis and Inglese combined for three saves in the loss while Lily Mueller made four saves to pick up the win.
For the Pride before the game each of their seniors were honored. Below is a brief look at each senior.
Jackie Davis (Goalie):
In her first season seeing significant action the four-year member of the Pride has appeared in ten games with nine starts and a 5-3-1 record. This year she also recorded four shutouts.
Aly Morell (Defense):
During her time with the Pride Morell has played in 51 games and has started 46 of those for the Pride’s defensive unit. Over the last two years she’s been a stalwart on the defense starting 37 of the 38 games for the Pride.
Hope MacDonald (Defense):
Over the course of her four years for the Pride MacDonald has appeared in fourteen games on defense. MacDonald has appeared in eleven of those games over the past two seasons.
Rachel Feliu (Defense):
In her time on Alden Street Feliu has made an impact from the start appearing in seventy games including making 39 starts for the Pride. Like Morell, Feliu has been a key cog in the defensive unit for the Pride starting 37 of the Pride’s 38 games over the past two seasons.
Amanda Wright (Forward):
The forward has made an impact from the moment she stepped onto Alden Street. Over her four years the forward has played 80 games including making 25 starts in her career. 24 of those 25 starts have come in the last two years. She has scored sixteen goals and recorded four assists, good for 36 points in her career. Over the last two seasons, Wright has fourteen of those goals.
Izzy Inglese (Goalie):
Like Davis this year is Inglese’s first time seeing significant action in her four-year career on Alden Street. After seeing action in four games, in her first three years, Inglese has seen action in six games including starting five of them. She has produced a 4-1-0 record in net with a shutout.
For the Pride the loss drops them to 10-4-1 overall and 6-2 in the NEWMAC, while MIT improves to 13-2-2 overall and 8-0 in the NEWMAC. MIT returns to action in Worcester on Tuesday afternoon against WPI, while the Pride return home on Wednesday where the will host Wheaton at 7 pm.
Featured photo courtesy of Springfield College Athletics