Springfield, Mass. - October 3, 2017 - The Springfield College women's soccer team found the back of the net three times in a span of 9:55 late in the game to help lift the Pride to a 4-2 win over Clark University in New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) play on Tuesday evening at Brock-Affleck Field.
With the win, Springfield College, which for the third-consecutive week was receiving votes in the United Soccer Coaches Division III National Rankings, improves to 9-1-0 overall and 3-1-0 in NEWMAC play, while the Cougars fall to 5-4-1 on the year and 1-2-1 against conference opponents. Springfield College held a 20-10 shot advantage over 90 minutes of play and was awarded two corner kicks to Clark's three.
In net for the Pride, Ciara Boucher (Manchester, Conn.) finished with four saves en route to her ninth win of the year, while her counterpart, Julianna Christy (Plainville, Conn.) made seven stops in the setback.
Springfield College was led offensively by Gabrielle Fernandes (North Smithfield, R.I.), as the sophomore midfielder scored two goals and had an assist for a career-best five points on the evening. Classmate Mackenzie Luiz (Newington, Conn.) also had a pair of assists in the victory.
After back-and-forth play to begin the game, Springfield College looked to break the scoreless tie with less than 20 minutes to play in the first half when Sara Swetland (Manchester, Conn.) ripped a left-footed shot on cage, which was saved by Christy, before the rebound bounced right to Mikaela Coady (Middletown, Conn.), who's chance went off the cross bar and bounced out of play to keep Springfield College off the board.
Although the Pride held an 8-3 shot advantage over the first 45 minutes of play, the two sides went into the halftime break in a scoreless tie.
It took just 9:43 into the second half for the Pride to find the back of the net as Monique Marcelino (Farmington, Conn.) played a ball in from the right side, which snuck behind the Cougars' back line, before Coady chased it down and was able to knock it past Christy to give the Pride a 1-0 lead. Just 12:07 later, Clark evened the score when Macy Golman (Dallas, Texas) sent a corner kick into the box, which was headed into the back of the net by Emma Deneault (Holden, Mass.) to make it 1-1 with 23:10 to play.
From there, it was all Springfield College, as the Pride scored three times in a span of 9:55, benefitting from the outstanding play of Fernandes. Following a substitution which allowed Mackenzie Luiz (Newington, Conn.), Amanda Wright (Pittsfield, Mass.), Meghan Sastram (Oxford, Conn.), and Fernandes into the game with 20:21 to play, the group went to work as Fernandes played a ball down the right flank to Luiz, who sent a beautiful cross to the back side of the net which Sastram tipped home to give the Pride a 2-1 lead with 14:03 to play.
Just 58 seconds later the Pride pushed its lead to a pair when Wright played a great through ball behind the Cougars' defense, before Fernandes caught up to the loose ball first and drilled a shot past Christy to make it 3-1, Springfield College, with 13:05 remaining in the contest.
With 4:08 on the clock, Springfield College took a 4-1 lead as Luiz hustled down the left side of the field before sending a last-second pass to Fernandes, who was all alone at the top of the box. The sophomore stopped the ball and fired a shot into the netting for her second of the day, giving the Pride a three-goal advantage in the late minutes of the contest.
The Cougars would cut its deficit to two with 1:38 to play on a goal from Eliza Meltzer (Framingham, Mass.), but Springfield College would hold on for the 4-2 win.
Springfield College will stay in NEWMAC play on Saturday, October 7 when it travels to Wellesley College for a 1 p.m. game with the Blue.
Photo courtesy of Sam Leventhal (The Springfield Student)