By Hayden Choate
The Springfield College women’s soccer team’s 2019 regular season is coming to a close.
After Tuesday’s tie at Wheaton, the team sits at 11-4-2 with one game left on the schedule. Saturday afternoon’s home contest against NEWMAC opponent WPI is not only the final game of the season, but it’s also senior day.
The Pride will honor five seniors on Saturday at Brock-Affleck field before their final match of the 2019 regular season. Nikki Kerr, Mackenzie Luiz, Shannon Anfuso, Sydney Wine and Renee Melisse are the five seniors participating in their last regular season game of their college careers.
Senior Chrissy Conley already had her senior day on Oct. 16 before the pride took on Babson as she will not play on Saturday to attend her sister’s wedding.
“This team’s incredible they had their own senior day for me,” Conley said. “I’m so grateful that I was able to pick this school as my second time around in college because its changed my life for the better.”
Springfield began the season on a very strong note winning their first four games of the year then tying defending national champion Williams. However, they found themselves in a tough spot after losing to Wesleyan then NEWMAC opponent Coast Guard. The Pride then picked their play right back up going on a five-game winning streak.
The team did drop a non-conference game to Amherst but were still riding a six-game winning streak in NEWMAC play before being shut out by defending NEWMAC champion MIT.
Senior captain Nikki Kerr believes the Pride have had a good season and is optimistic heading into their last game. “I just feel like the energy going into NEWMACs, going into the end of the season, it’s going upwards every single day, every practice I think we’re working harder and every game, I think we’re really proving how good of a team we are.” Kerr said.
Although the Pride have enjoyed a successful season, they have had some tough losses, but the team has always had a positive outlook moving forward.
“We’ve always said that failure is the first attempt at learning, F.A.I.L. as an acronym, we kind of just take that and build off it and go forward in our other performances and the atmosphere that we’re around with each other and the coaches and everyone’s really supportive.” Conley, another team captain, said.
Mackenzie Luiz, another captain, also believes the team coming together as been a big part of their success this season.
“I’d say this year especially our team is super close compared to previous years that I’ve been here so I think that team cohesion has really helped us on the field in games this season,” Luiz said.
Part of the togetherness of this team has come from this year’s senior class.
Kerr added, “We have a very strong class not only on the field wise but as people, some of the most caring individuals on the team are in our senior class and that just shows we lead by example.”
“The passion, preparation, perseverance that literally all of the seniors and honestly the entire team has across the table so far this season has been incredible,” Conley said.
Luiz, who has dealt with injuries this season, has high praise for her class who has shown they lead from off the field as well.
“I feel like our class is strong mentally and physically because on the field we do lead by example but off the field, I know myself I was injured for a long portion of the season so that was kind of hard for me, I kind of had to learn to be a role model and lead others in a different way not just on the field but off the field as well, and I think that a lot of our class is able to do that too,” Luiz said.
Kerr added, “With only one regular season game on Brock-Affleck Field for the seniors they still can not believe it. “I don’t really want to believe it yet, I just can’t believe that it’s been four years here, four years with this program, four years with these girls that I’ve honestly couldn’t imagine myself growing as close as I did to not only the seniors but the underclassmen that I’ve gotten to know the few years that they’ve been there.”
Springfield who tied Wheaton 1-1 on Tuesday afternoon, is still in the No. 2 spot in the NEWMAC standings with a 6-2-1 record in conference play heading into Saturday and are ready to battle in their final game of the season.
“This is an opportunity where we need to win because going into NEWMACs this will just set us up for greater success and I think ultimately when it comes down to it our entire team’s goal is to win NEWMACs and that starts Saturday,” Kerr said.
Photo courtesy of Jack Margaros