By Hayden Choate
No. 4 Springfield College women’s soccer advanced to the NEWMAC Semifinals Tuesday night after beating the No. 5 Emerson 4-2 in penalty kicks. The Pride will head to No. 1 MIT on Thursday night.
MIT has been a powerhouse all season and are ranked fifth in Division III women’s soccer in the country by the United Soccer Coaches poll.
The Engineers were awarded a bye after they went undefeated in the NEWMAC this season. They’ve only allowed three goals all year, shut out their opponents 17 times, and are riding a four-game shutout streak.
Springfield has been struggling in the tail end of the season. The Pride looked like a different team in Tuesday’s Quarterfinal than they did during their regular season finale. However, they still could not capitalize on their opportunities and had to win the game in penalty kicks.
The two teams previously met on Oct. 26 in Cambridge, Mass. where MIT cruised by Springfield with a 5-0 win. But the game was even in the first half and looked like Springfield could have grabbed a lead or tied the game. The Engineers came out and kept the ball in the attacking half of the field for most of the second half, scoring four times and could have been more as they hit the crossbar four times and the post twice.
“Obviously last time we were there, we weren’t very pleased with ourselves, MIT is a really good team, we just have to make some adjustments and see what we can do,” women’s Soccer Head Coach John Gibson said.
Despite the loss in the regular season, Springfield is ready for the opportunity to exact revenge on the team that beat them in the NEWMAC Championship last year.
“It’s just a good opportunity, we got to take advantage, I’m excited,” said first-year Kellie Smith, who scored the winning penalty kick goal in Tuesday’s Quarterfinal win over Emerson.
The game is set to begin at 7 p.m. in Cambridge, Mass. for the NEWMAC Semifinal. The winner will take on the winner of No. 3 WPI and No. 7 Babson. WPI beat No. 6 Wheaton 4-0 while Babson upset No. 2 Coast Guard 2-1.
Even though MIT has only lost one game all season, Gibson knows anything can happen, especially in the playoffs.
“It’s still only 11 v. 11, stranger things have happened,” Gibson said.
Photo courtesy of Helen Lucas