A defensive battle was on full display as the Worcester State Lancers took on the Springfield College Pride under the lights at Brock-Affleck Field, as the two teams worked their way to a 1-1 draw.
The Lancers and Pride were at a standstill for the majority of the first half. There was some chippiness between the teams, and multiple players on both teams had dove on the turf to save possible goals.
Then came the final 3 minutes.
Within the blink of an eye, the score had turned to 1-1. Unlike the first 42 minutes, offense was alive in the final three.
With just under 3 minutes left in the first half, senior Chayne Bruneau passed it to a wide open Leland Malloy, who found the back of the net to score the first goal of the game.
That lead did not last long, however, as not even a minute later a corner kick from Worcester State first-year Brady Iovanni found junior Matt Alzamora to tie the game at one apiece.
Springfield knew they had played a good half, but had to play an even better half to fend off the Lancers.
The message at halftime?
“Raise the standard,” said senior goalkeeper Clayton Knibbs. “We thought we had played a good half, but we knew we could do more.”
Springfield came into the game only allowing an average of one goal per game over its past four games. And as the temperature continued to dip as the second half progressed, so did the offenses of each team. Great defense was shown by both teams, especially Springfield, as the high level of defense led to only one shot on goal all half.
“We brought a lot of energy tonight,” Knibbs said. “[We] tried to focus on communication and hold each other accountable.”
To start the second half, it looked like the Lancers had a good look on goal, until junior Maitoe Suppasuesanguan came out of nowhere to swoop in front of a blue jersey and steal the ball. This defensive tenacity was a common theme.
Pride head coach Tommy Crabill was very impressed with his team, despite the game ending in a tie.
“I was thrilled with the match, even conceding, I mean, it’s not ideal,” Crabill said. “But we’ve played in matches where we’ve had to defend our goal for 45 [minutes].”
Although the Pride only netted one goal, the time of possession allowed the defense to flourish when it needed to.
“A big key to our defense was connecting passes in the attack,” Crabill said. ”We ended up with a little bit more possession [so] we were not under defensive pressure.”
The Pride dropped their first game of the season 5-0. Since then, the defense has stepped up and provided the framework on what this team can become. They are looking at this defensive stretch as a key to continued improvement.
“It’s a [great] experience, and we’re growing,” Crabill said.
Springfield moves to 1-3-2 and will play host to M.I.T on Saturday at 2:30 p.m.
Photo Courtesy of Springfield Athletics