By Hayden Choate
The Springfield College women’s soccer team played their first home game of the season Wednesday night at Brock-Affleck field in front of an enthusiastic crowd. The Pride came away with their second consecutive shutout victory, beating Castleton University 3-0.
Senior Kaleigh Dale opened up the scoring a little over ten minutes into the game with a breakaway goal off a lead pass from junior Kellie Smith.
“It felt really good,” Kaleigh Dale said. “It was an amazing ball by Kellie and that’s something Kellie and I try to work on so it felt really good and I feel like that kind of started the momentum of the whole game just to start the opener with that.”
Prior to the goal, the majority of the Springfield College football team was not only watching the game but cheering on their fellow student-athletes.
“Yeah it’s nice just to play at home,” Springfield College head coach John Gibson said. “I just wish we could have scored the first goal a minute sooner when the football team was standing there, they would have gone nuts.”
Dale, who has earned many awards and accolades, including 2018 NEWMAC Rookie of the Year, now has 93 points in 52 career games with the Pride. One of the elite parts of Dale’s game is her ability to possess the ball, making defenders chase her up and down the field.
“That’s something that I always try to do,” Dale said. “It’s something I work on, trying to help the team as much as I can on offense and defense and then just kind of taking it forward when the opportunity presents itself and then keeping it and possessing it around when that’s the better option for the team.”
The Pride took a 2-0 lead into halftime after sophomore Gaby Scott scored her first goal on a header from a corner kick by junior Adalia Malick.
Springfield had 5 sophomores in their starting lineup Wednesday, and all of which are playing in their first collegiate season.
Having more than half his team beginning this season with no college soccer experience, Gibson admits it was a little more of an adjustment then he thought it would be.
“Yeah it’s taken us longer than we thought to sort things out but I think we’re looking alright at the moment,” Gibson said.
The Pride’s third goal came from sophomore Karly Suppicich who grabbed a blocked shot off a Castleton player and put Springfield up 3-0.
Part of Springfield’s attack was being patient when possessing the ball and finding the right pass. This is what led to all three goals in the game and a lot of chances as well.
“One of the things we’ve been working on is playing it forward, quicker playing it in behind when its on they seem to want to play it underneath all the time so that keeping possession is great but you gotta keep possession with a purpose and you want to play the ball long really but the good decision is not to play it when its not on,” Gibson said.
Not only was Springfield’s attack playing well but their defense was shutting down any Castleton opportunity. They have now played 180 minutes straight without letting in a goal.
The Pride now have five straight NEWMAC games coming up starting with Coast Guard at home on Saturday.
“Now we’re 4-3 instead of 3-4 if we had lost,” Gibson said. “Hopefully we can get another win and be undefeated in the conference, we just have to keep working hard.”
Dale, the captain of the team, knows that her team needs to keep moving in the right direction with conference games ahead.
“I think just definitely take the momentum and take all the good things we did in this game and build from that,” Dale said. “Then take all the things we didn’t do too well and then work on them and critique them so by the time those big conference games come we’ll be even sharper than we were today.”