Going into Tuesday night’s match against Mount Holyoke the Springfield women’s soccer team only had four games left, all of which needed to be won to earn an opportunity to repeat as conference champions.
They got themselves one step closer by earning their third straight win, again in dominant fashion. The 2-0 victory kept Springfield close to Wheaton in the conference race. The Pride played a strong overall game motivated by the support of a strong fan section.
The scoring started in the 15th minute for the pride as senior forward Kim Rasmussen notched her fourth goal of the season on a cross from Jessica Miller that left the goalie defenseless. The team got an insurance goal in the 24th minute, as star defender Vicky DiNatale came up to score an unassisted goal.
The goal, which came after multiple tries, was the second on the season for DiNatale, who backed up last week’s performance, which won her the NEWMAC Defensive Player of the Week. Springfield did not allow a single shot on goal by the Mount Holyoke ladies. Solid efforts from senior defender Brittany Samson and midfielder Sara Dalton led the Pride and set the tone for the game.
“We came out hard, which is all we wanted to do,” said coach John Gibson. “We did a lot of good things.”
In the crowd for tonight’s game was an overjoyed bunch of young girls from a Pioneer Valley youth soccer team. The team got to come and watch the Pride, hoping to learn from the college team. The girls cheered often as they were amazed, especially with the throw-in ability of the Springfield players. The enthusiastic group was treated with the opportunity to meet the team after the win, which brought smiles to all of their faces. Also in the crowd for the game was perhaps the team’s biggest fan, Springfield student Ricky Mazella. Prepared with his singing voice, Mazella led the Springfield cheering section with constant chants and songs to encourage the team.
“I come out to cheer for everyone,” Mazella said after the game with the same enthusiasm he held for the whole 90 minutes.
Now with only three games left in the season, the pressure is still on the team to keep winning. Springfield needs a loss from Wheaton in order to get back in a position to repeat as NEWMAC champions, but the team has certainly not lost hope.
“There is always hope,” said Gibson. “We just have to get our heads down and win the games we have left.”
The team travels to in-conference rival WPI on Saturday for an 11 a.m. start looking for their fourth-straight victory.