By Hayden Choate
SPRINGFIELD — The 2019 NEWMAC Quarterfinals was decided by the most dramatic thing in all sports.
A penalty kick shootout.
First-year player Kellie Smith walked up calmly to the ball that was completely still on the penalty kick marker.
“Try not to think about it because when you think about it, you over think it and then it doesn’t go too well, just try to stay focused,” Smith said.
Smith’s shot was the winning goal in the fifth round of penalty kicks, giving the Springfield College women’s soccer team the 4-2 win in the penalty kicks over Emerson College on Tuesday night at Brock Affleck Field. The win over the No. 5 seed advances No. 4 Springfield to the NEWMAC semi-finals on Thursday.
Sara Swetland, who took 11 shots during regulation, got the first shot for the Pride of penalty kicks. However Emerson goalkeeper Megan Rose stopped Swetland’s shot.
“Anytime you miss your first one, it’s a worrisome time,” Springfield head coach John Gibson said.
The Lions would then score on the next two shots by Grace Cosgrove and Sage Stack. But, Emerson missed the following two, going over the net and setting up the game-winning opportunity for Smith.
The game, which started off very even by both teams, was a fast-paced defensive battle.
“The longer the first half went on the better we got,” Gibson said.
In the second half and overtime it was all Springfield but the clock was not their friend. The team was getting great chances but could not get it past Rose and the Emerson defenders.
“In the second half, I think we had the better of the game but they were still dangerous and they were passing the ball nicely around the back,” Gibson said.
The Pride had a number of chances throughout the game including Kaleigh Dale holding onto the ball for almost 10 seconds, making three moves then shooting a powerful shot that kicked off the left post. Although Springfield was dominant in the second half and overtime, Emerson’s strong defensive play created opportunities for them in the attacking zone.
Springfield’s goalkeeper Caitlin Normoyle and defenders shut down every opportunity Emerson had down the stretch.
Despite not being able to produce anything, Springfield’s offensive attack from Swetland and Kaleigh Dale was in full force, both showing their great skills, slowing the game down by possessing the ball, using their speed and making great passes.
“Kaleigh was a bit unlucky hitting the post twice with good shots, one of which was a great save from their keeper,” Gibson said.
The Pride advance to the NEWMAC semifinals which they will play No. 1 seed MIT in Cambridge on Thursday night.
Featured photo courtesy Helen Lucas