By Hayden Choate
SPRINGFIELD — For the second time in two games the Springfield College women’s soccer team found themselves in a deficit less than ten minutes into the game.
Sophomore Andi Wiley’s shot off a restart just 4:03 into the game put Wesleyan on the board in the 3-1 victory. The goal which was shot from outside the box on the left side of the field looked like it was going wide of the net until it curved at the last second hugging the back of the net just inside the post.
“That really sort of took the wind out of us,” said Springfield head coach John Gibson. “We did have possession afterwards and we did get into some good positions.” “They were well-organized, worked very hard, they’re some really good players.” Said Gibson on Wesleyan’s early goal.
The loss was Springfield’s first of the season after beginning the season on a four-game win streak then tying Williams on Sunday. The victory was Wesleyan’s third in a row after beating Williams on Saturday.
Springfield came into Tuesday’s game ranked as the No. 25 team in DIII, according to the United Soccer Coaches poll. This is the first time since 2013 the Pride have had a national ranking.
Springfield coming off a four-game homestand played their third game in six days Tuesday on Jackson Field at Wesleyan. “I think that we were probably tired but you have to suck it up and play through it, that’s the hand you’ve been dealt, you can’t feel sorry for yourself.” Said Gibson.
The Pride had many chances to tie the game when they were trailing 1-0 thanks to a lot of blocked shots and physical play by defenders junior Christy Russo, senior Chrissy Conley, Sophomore Heather Jennato and freshman Hannah Sullivan along with saves by Sophomore goalkeeper Emma O’Sullivan (three saves). However, as the game went on, it became more physical and with 36:40 to go in the second half Wesleyan was awarded a penalty kick.
Junior Emily Ribatt scored her first of two goals in the game when she barely beat O’Sullivan on the penalty kick extending the Wesleyan lead to 2-0. 23 minutes later, Ribatt took a touch and let a shot fly from way outside the box, the shot carried and went over O’Sullivan to put Wesleyan up 3-0.
It looked as if the Pride couldn’t get anything going with limited offensive opportunities after Ribatt’s second goal of the game. However, with five minutes left the Pride were awarded a penalty kick of their own.
Sophomore Kaleigh Dale put the Pride on the board with a penalty kick with 5:09 left in the game and all of a sudden, Springfield looked like they were capable of an incredible comeback.
Despite a last ditch effort the Cardinal defense held on for the 3-1 victory. Springfield now has a few days to rest, recover and regroup before they begin NEWMAC action on Saturday back at home against Coast Guard.
“The test will be how do we react to this, we need to win Saturday, the first league game.” Said Gibson. “I think there’s no argument they deserved to win today and we didn’t.”
Photo courtesy Jack Margaros