Springfield, Mass. - October 28, 2008 - For the first time in program history, the Springfield College women’s soccer team captured a share of the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) regular-season crown on Tuesday evening after defeating Smith, 4-0 , at Brock-Affleck Field.
The Pride, who moved up to 20th in the country in the latest NSCAA National Poll today, improved to 12-3-2, 7-1-1 in league play. Springfield is now the top seed in the upcoming conference tournament, which begins on Saturday afternoon. Although tied with Wheaton in the final regular season standings, the Pride earn the top seed by virtue of its win over the Lyons earlier this season. Smith falls to 2-13-2, 1-6-2 in league action.
Springfield struck first as a pair of senior captains connected from long range in the 35th minutes. Kayla Thibeault sent a ball from beyond the midway line in the air over the Smith defense, which Lauren Peltier ran onto. With just Smith goalie Lauren Bachtel to beat, Peltier tucked her shot into the lower left corner for the Pride’s first goal of the game.
The Pride’s Nicole Baker gave the home team a 2-0 advantage with just over a minute left in the opening stanza. Baker took the ball at the top of the box, made a nice move to her left, and fired a shot into the upper left corner of the net for her second goal of the season.
In the 57th minute, Caitlin Sawczuk touched a pass to teammate Nicole Hanewich inside the six-yard box. Hanewich made no mistake as she knocked home the Pride’s third tally of the game and increased her team lead in points to 18.
The Pride’s final goal of the game came off a Brittany Collins corner kick in the 68th minute. Collins sent a ball in which Jess Prencipe headed over a leaping Bachtel for her first goal of the 2008 season.
Bachtel finished with eight saves in the game, while Sue Jenney made just one save for the Pride. Springfield outshot the visiting Pioneers, 23-2, in the game and enjoyed a 6-2 advantage in corner kicks.
Springfield will host a NEWMAC Tournament Quarterfinal contest on Saturday at 1:00 pm. The Pride will square off against WPI, who they beat 4-0 in the regular season on October 25. If the Pride advance past the Engineers, it will host the semifinals and championship game next weekend.