Men's Sports Sports

Strong defense pushes Springfield men’s soccer over Curry, 1-0

Patrick Fergus

A soaring header courtesy of Springfield midfielder Ryan Berecz in the 31st minute gave the Pride a lead that they wouldn’t relinquish, as they won their first game of the season 1-0, against Curry College at Brock-Affleck Field on Tuesday Night.

Springfield forward Connor Policarpio was able to brush past multiple Curry defenders to get a clean cross into the box, which was promptly placed into the top left corner.

The goal resulted from a persistent attack by the Pride in the opening half-hour of action. An aggressive pace put pressure on Curry’s midfielders, who were forced into many errors, and Springfield seemed to win every loose ball.

“The first five and last five of each half, we want to come out with a really pressing pace; it helps you learn about your opponent faster and establish a tempo,” Springfield Head Coach Tommy Crabill said.

After effectively establishing their tone, the Pride continued to create chances, with forward Matthew Mela narrowly missing a second goal by virtue of a diving save from Curry goalkeeper Justin Ritz. Tristan Moran also nearly doubled the lead after taking advantage of sloppy play from Curry’s defense but sent the shot wide right of the net.

In the second half, the Pride brought the same level of intensity.

“It’s massive,” Crabill said about the importance of keeping the other team under constant duress. “It takes incredible fitness and discipline, and we were able to keep that up for 90 minutes.”

Springfield’s defense was able to shut out Curry, who came into the contest averaging two and a half goals per game in their first three games this season. However, the game wasn’t short of chances for the Colonels.

Curry totaled six corners, many in the second half, but all of their attempts were collected by either Pride goalkeeper Noah Pote or cleared by a leaping defender. Curry midfielder JD Santiago had a golden opportunity in the 67th minute as he dribbled past the defense and blasted a rocket that flew far over the bar.

Still, the defense held and avoided conceding despite a considerable increase in shots.

“When you have the front half of the team playing with such urgency, it really relieves a lot of pressure on the back half,” said Crabill. “It allowed us to be able to contain a really dynamic team.”

After a tough start to the year, the Pride get a much-needed victory and improve to 1-2-1 on the season as they look to stay in the win column when they host Emerson on Saturday, Sept. 16 at Brock-Affleck Field. .













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