By Vin Gallo
Amanda Wright found an open lane to the goal.
That’s all the senior forward would need to get the Springfield College women’s soccer team on the board, and on track towards a 2-0 win against Pacific University (Ore.). The victory jumped the Pride’s record to 1-0 on opening day, while also lifting them into the Springfield College Invitational’s championship game.
Uncovered as she traveled through the midfield, Wright made a b-line to the net as freshman teammate Kaleigh Dale corralled the ball near the center of Brock Affleck Field.
Up to that point, with 3:36 left in the first half, Pacific had played at a pace that had countered Springfield’s speed-infused tempo of play. But the Pride successfully jumped at an opportunity given by a brief lull in the Boxers’ defenses.
Pacific was a couple of seconds too late in getting to Dale, who quickly sent a pass up field that hit Wright in stride. With a Pacific defender tied to her left hip, Wright turned her stride into a full out sprint, and gained a step ahead of her opposition.
On a dash, Wright hooked a shot around her defender. The ball sailed through the air past the left of Saya Brown, Pacific’s goalkeeper, before finding the left side of the net for Springfield’s first score of the season. The senior finished the game with five total shots taken, with three being on-goal.
Salvaging last season’s style
Wright acknowledged that the Pride has enough quickness among their forwards for speed on the fast break to be a big part of their offensive attack. It’s a skill the team hopes to continue to hone, after graduating a 2017 senior striker group of Mary Silva, Mikaela Coady and Kim Quiles.
“Pace is pretty big [to our game],” Wright said. “All of our forwards [this season] are pretty fast – we have Sara [Swetland], Mackenzie [Luiz] and then we have Brinsley [Chasse] and all of our bench. All of us are pretty fast, Coach [Gibson] said we could be a four-by-one team if we wanted to be.”
Freshmen finding early stride
At midfield, Dale, who was credited her first collegiate assist for her pass leading to Wright’s goal, finished with one helper to go along with five shots and four shots on-goal. Freshman forward Sydney Fackrell (one goal, two shots, two shots on-goal) added insurance to Springfield’s lead nine minutes after halftime. In the game’s 54th minute, the forward from Hamburg N.J. kicked home the Pride’s second score of the game to even out the Pride’s winning tally of 2-0. Fackrell created the scoring opportunity by rebounding a tipped ball from the goalkeeper Brown, who had deflected Springfield junior Sydney Wine’s corner kick. Wine was rewarded an assist on the play.
In the Pride’s net, freshman goalkeeper Bridget O’Connor earned the win in her first 90 minutes between the posts for Springfield. O’Connor recorded a save on Pacific’s lone shot on-goal for the game.
An overpowering outing
Despite matching Springfield’s pace in the game’s early minutes, Pacific was unable to achieve any momentum against its opponent. Offensively, the team registered only one shot in the first half and four total shots for the game with Holly Bartholomew tallying the lone shot on-goal. The Boxers defense was pressured by the Pride throughout the majority game, with Brown (eight saves) needing to contest 10 shots on-goal. Springfield attempted 17 total shots and 11 corner kicks for the game.
“Overall, I think we’ve been really crushing it [since] preseason,” reflected Wright. “We came out hard tonight. The one thing we could do is capitalize on our chances … if someone’s running down the line and crosses the ball in [to a teammate] we just need to get it in the net.”
The Pride will play Roger Williams for the invitational’s first-place honors on Saturday.