Springfield, Mass. - September 11, 2013 - Danny Amato's (Newington, Conn.) free-kick strike in the 74th minute proved to be the difference as the Springfield College men's soccer team prevailed over Eastern Nazarene, 2-1, in a lightening-shortened non-conference clash Wednesday at the Irv Schmid Sports Complex.
The win brings Springfield College's record to 2-1, while the Lions drop to 0-2 on the early season.
It was Eastern Nazarene that struck for the game's first goal with 27:03 left in the first half. After Jacob Mason (Middletown, R.I.) delivered a centering pass from the right flank, Scott Hansen (Middletown Spring, Vt.) was able to beat a Springfield defender to a loose ball in the box and poke it into space. From there, Josh Henry (Lowell, Mass.) rocketed a shot into the upper right corner to put the visitors ahead.
The Pride wasted little time answering back, using some tremendous passing to knot the game at a goal apiece. Kevin Nowak (Plainsboro, N.J.) found Drew Vanasse (Concord, Mass.) in the middle of the field. After several touches, Vanasse slipped a perfect through ball to Ryan Malone (Chicopee, Mass.). Playing in his first home game in nearly two years after several injuries, Malone didn't waste the chance and slotted home a left-footed bid into the back of the net from 15 yards out.
Despite continuous pressure from Springfield, the game remained scoreless until just under 14 minutes left in regulation. After re-entering the game, Malone took the ball from just beyond midfield and weaved throughout the Lions defense before being fouled just outside the box. Amato stepped up and struck a beautiful, bending free kick that glanced off the cross bar before crossing the goal line for the game-winner.
With 6:21 on the clock, lightening struck off the distance and continued for nearly an hour before the game was officially called.
For the game, Springfield owned a 22-4 advantage in shots and took seven of the game's 10 corner kicks. Zach Richard (Millbury, Mass.) made just one save in the win, while his counterpart, Jake Johnson (Mount Bethel, Pa.) made eight stops for the Lions.
The Pride will play its second game of a three-game homestand on Saturday afternoon against local-foe Westfield State beginning at 12:00 pm.