In a rematch from the regular season, the Springfield College women’s soccer team once again ended regulation against MIT in a tie. Just like their Sept. 24th game, play continued for two overtimes, and in an eerily similar result, the game still remained in a deadlock. This time around, however, the game could not end in a tie. After going to penalty kicks, the Engineers eventually prevailed by outscoring the Pride, 4-3, securing the NEWMAC Championship.
The Pride and Engineers, seeded one and three respectively, took polar opposite paths to reach the NEWMAC Championship. While the Pride cruised, the Engineers found themselves in plenty of pressure situations and close match-ups.
The Springfield College women’s soccer team made it to their second straight NEWMAC championship after their win against Clark University on Saturday, Nov. 5. The Pride played strong offensively and defensively in the semifinals to advance to the championship after earning a bye in the opening round.
The game started with strong defense, as the ball did not travel far into either end. Most of the action took place around midfield. Springfield broke through with a couple of strong drives toward the goal, but the Cougars were there to defend them. Clark responded with drives of their own, but the strong Pride defense kept them from scoring.
Springfield scored the first goal of the game when senior co-captain, All-Conference first team selection and NEWMAC Co-Athlete of the Year Jackie Moscardelli tipped in a cross from fellow senior co-captain and All-Conference first team selection Katie Mantie. In addition to Moscardelli and Mantie, junior goalkeeper Erin Greenstein was named to the All-Conference first team, while junior forward Erica Donnelly and sophomore defender Vicky DiNatale were honored by being selected to the All-Conference second team. Right before the end of the first half, the Pride scored again. This time it was by sophomore midfielder Karleigh Bradbury from just outside the box off a deflected corner. Springfield went into the half with a comfortable 2-0 lead.
Springfield started the second half just as strong as they did the first. The defense played very well and kept all the Cougar shots out of the net by knocking them down or by great saves by Greenstein. The Pride added another tally late when senior forward Amber Thornton headed in a cross that put the game at 3-0 and out of reach.
When asked if the team could keep the momentum going from the semifinals to the final, head coach and recently named NEWMAC Coach of the Year John Gibson said, “I hope so. This is a motivated group and I think that they’ll be ready.”
Since they were seeded No. 3, the Engineers had to down both Wellesley and No. 2 seeded Wheaton to earn a shot at the Pride in the championship. They did just that, defeating Wellesley 1-0 and then downing Wheaton in a thrilling 2-1, double-overtime nail-biter.
In the Wellesley game, junior forward Emily Kuo broke through the Blue defense in the 23rd minute to score, which proved to be the game’s only goal. Junior goalkeeper Meghan Wright had an outstanding game in net, blanking Wellesley’s attack and accumulating eight saves.
In their semifinals rematch of an Oct. 11th loss to Wheaton, junior midfielder Leslie Meyer came up clutch by recording her first goal of the season in the nick of time. After ending regulation in a 1-1 tie, the Engineers and Lyons continued battle through not one, but two overtime periods. With only 1:09 remaining in the second overtime, Meyer broke through to send the Engineers to the NEWMAC Championship game.
The Pride went up against the MIT Engineers in the NEWMAC Championship game on Nov. 6, and were defeated in penalty kicks, 4-3. Sophomore forward Kim Rasmussen scored the Pride’s only goal in regulation off an assist coming from sophomore midfielder Ashley Carresi. Moscardelli, freshman defender Kelly Haines and senior midfielder Jenelle Jahoda scored the Pride’s three penalty kick goals. The three successful PK’s were not enough to overcome the Engineers, who netted four on Springfield, including sophomore midfielder Rachel Dias Carlson’s squeaker off the left goalpost, to capture the NEWMAC title.
Wright was named the Tournament MVP after recording six saves during the game and blocking a few crucial SC attempts during the shootout. With the victory, MIT received an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Although the Pride lost in the finals, they still had a good enough record to make it to the NCAA Tournament. They will take on Cabrini College at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 12th in Baltimore, Maryland.
Joe Brown may be reached at email@example.com