By Hayden Choate
SPRINGFIELD — The Springfield College women’s soccer team got off to a very strong start in the 2019 season but for the first time since October of 2018 the Pride have lost two straight games.
No.25 Springfield (4-2-1) came into the game looking to avenge their loss to Wesleyan by getting off to a good start in their first NEWMAC action of the season. However, Coast Guard Academy (2-5) jumped on the Pride’s mistakes every chance they could and came away with a 3-0 win at Brock-Affleck Field Saturday afternoon.
With 18:09 left in the first half, Coast Guard made a quick play up the middle of the field by midfielder Brielle Pearce , it seemed as if the Pride had the advantage with defenders back but Pearce made a short pass right by Springfield defender Chrissy Conley to forward Alexandra Murphy from about 5 yards outside the box, launches a shot that carries over Springfield goalkeeper Emma O’Sullivan to give Coast Guard a 1-0 lead.
“We weren’t good enough top to bottom,” said Springfield head coach John Gibson.
Both teams got off to a slow start until Coast Guard began sustaining pressure on Springfield leading up to their first goal. Springfield had all kinds of chances to tie the game including a cross from defender Heather Jennato that found Kaleigh Dale’s head but was stopped by Coast Guard goalkeeper Sarah Schollenberger.
Springfield came out stronger in the second half, making better passes and spending more time on the attack mounting pressure on the Coast Guard defense. “Certainly we were better in the second half, and we got into great positions but there was no end product,” said Gibson. The Pride had 24 shots but only ten of them were on goal.
The Pride, who have been outscored 6-1 in the last two games suffered their first shutout of the season Saturday afternoon. Said Gibson, “We get to the end line and the cross is poor or the shot we take is blasted over the bar or if someone cuts inside and then wants to take multiple touches before they do anything, you’re not going to produce anything.”
Still down by one goal, Springfield had a lot of good chances to tie the game including a cross from freshman Adalia Malick that found junior Sarah Swetland who fed Kaleigh Dale with a hard pass but her shot was over the net. The Pride also had a great chance off a corner kick where Swetland fired a shot that hit Schollenberger right in the stomach keeping the pride off the board.
Once Coast Guard scored their second goal of the game all the momentum was in their favor. Eight minutes into the second half a strong cross from Coast Guard found Brielle Pearce who was right in front of the Springfield goalkeeper. Pearce headed the ball to the left away from O’Sullivan who could only watch the ball cross the goal line.
Twenty-six minutes later, Springfield defender Hannah Sullivan tried stopping a ball mid-air that went over her left leg and gave Pearce a perfect breakaway. Sullivan attempted to get back but before she could catch Pearce the forward had already taken a shot that went by O’Sullivan, again to the back left corner of the net. With 10:35 left in the second half that capped off Coast Guard’s victory in the first game of NEWMAC action in the 2019 season.
Pearce, a sophomore from Jupiter, Florida scored her first points of the season with an assist on Murphy’s goal to give Coast Guard a 1-0 lead. Pearce then scored both of the Bear’s insurance goals to lead them to the 3-0 win.
Springfield’s schedule only gets tougher from here, with only four more home games and two non-conference games (Castleton on Oct. 1st and Amherst on Oct. 14th). The Pride are now 4-2-2 and have a week off before facing their next conference opponent Emerson, who beat Mount Holyoke 8-0 in their conference opener, next Saturday at home. “Having a whole week to dwell on it, could be negative or on the other hand we got plenty of time to work on the things that we identified, so I guess on Saturday which it is,” said Gibson.
Featured photo courtesy Jack Margaros