The Springfield College men’s soccer team has certainly had quite the run this season. Game-winning goals with only seconds left on the clock and multiple, double-overtime outcomes have pretty much been commonplace during their 2013 soccer season.
“My biggest accomplishment this season was being named captain of a team at this skill level. This team is the best team I’ve ever been on, both chemistry-wise and ability-wise. I’ve never worked on a team that had 31 best friends. I love all the coaching staff and all the guys,” said senior captain Scott Saucier.
During the Pride’s final in-season game against Coast Guard, Saucier scored the game-tying goal that sent the game into overtime. Unfortunately, that game ended in double overtime with Coast Guard winning 2-1, but that would not be the last time the Pride met the Bears.
“Everything just slowed down for me at that point; it felt like I literally could do anything. I just felt unstoppable. It was a great moment,” said Saucier.
Saucier, or as people know him around campus, “Sauce,” is definitely one of the team’s secret weapons…well, maybe not so secret. His undeniable athletic abilities are what he is known for among his fellow classmates, particularly his speed.
“Scott has great technical skills on the ball, a high soccer IQ, and extreme athletic ability with his blazing speed,” explained Springfield College men’s soccer head coach Steffen Siebert. “As a captain, Scott is one of a kind. His determination to get better every single day is not just motivating for his teammates, but also for me as a coach.”
The past two years, Siebert stepped up to fulfill the position as head coach, and he is certainly carrying the torch brightly.
Siebert began his head coaching job at Springfield just two years ago, but his involvement with the Springfield College men’s soccer program began back in 2009 when he worked as associate head coach under previous Springfield College coach Peter Haley. Siebert was involved in all elements of the head coaching obligations on and off the field.
“He’s awesome. He knows so much about soccer. I’ve never met anyone that loves and cares and knows about the game more than he does,” praised Saucier. “The transition was pretty smooth, too. My freshman and sophomore year, he was our assistant coach. He handled the tactics more, where as Coach Haley took care of the logistics.”
Although the second meeting Springfield had with the Coast Guard Bears ended in a frustratingly similar manner, Siebert was still impressed with his team’s play.
Last Wednesday night, the Springfield College men’s soccer team hosted Coast Guard Academy for the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference Championship Quarterfinals. It was Senior Day for the Pride at Brock-Affleck Field. Balloons clung to the crisp, fall air and banners etched with seniors’ names gave life to the cold, metal fence.
Everyone – the team, the coaches, the fans – could sense the bubble of excitement that had formed around the field. The roar of the crowd seemed to echo and boomerang its way around the stadium.
A 1-0 lead from Coast Guard mocked the Pride for almost the entire match. With a mere 11:09 left on the clock, senior midfielder Danny Amato spotted senior defenseman Ryan Malone in perfect position. Amato sent an arced-kick down the field to his teammate. With this, Malone channeled his remaining energy into his legs, bent his knees and exploded from the turf for a beautiful header to tie up the game, 1-1.
The game rolled into its first overtime period. Every pass left a subtle trail of caution as each team struggled to finish any attempted shots.
The time on the clock quickly diminished, sending the game into a nail-biting double overtime. Both teams played with fire in their eyes and with only one thing in mind: One. More. Goal.
Finally, a move was made but unfortunately, not in the Pride’s favor. With a mere 1:53 remaining in the second overtime period, Coast Guard’s John Tarzian headed the game-winning point off an assist from John Rendon.
“I am extremely pleased and proud of how the team played during the Quarterfinals on Wednesday. The season has been outstanding and that was just another game that we demonstrated our skill and work ethic to an exceptional level,” Siebert said. “After the final whistle was blown during the quarterfinal, it was obvious that not a single player had any regret with the work they put in, and I believe that is the greatest thing that a coach can experience, knowing that his players put everything they had into the game, as well as every other game this season.”
Yes, it’s true. The Springfield College men’s soccer team received the top seed in the 2013 Eastern College Athletic Conference Division III New England Region Men’s Soccer Championship. Since Springfield has been chosen as the top seed, the Pride will host both the semifinals on Saturday and the Championship on Sunday.
On Saturday, Nov. 16 the Springfield College men’s soccer team will either play No. 5 Colby-Sawyer or Norwich at No. 4, depending on which team wins.
Gabby Maulucci can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org