Amherst, Mass. - November 12, 2017 - The Springfield College men's soccer team put forth a great effort, but fell to Amherst College in a penalty-kick shootout that decided the team that advanced to the NCAA Division III Championship Tournament Sweet 16 on Sunday afternoon at Hitchcock Field. With the result, the Pride closes its season with a record of 15-1-3, while the Mammoths improve to 12-3-3 on the year.
Springfield College, which was ranked No. 23 in the latest D3soccer.com National Rankings, and No. 25 in the last United Soccer Coaches Division III National Rankings, put 13 shots towards goal, five of which were on cage, while Amherst College, which was ranked No. 18 in D3soccer.com and No. 16 in United Soccer Coaches, had 20 shots in 110 minutes, while also putting five on net. The Mammoths were also awarded nine corner kicks compared to the Pride's five.
In net for Springfield College, Stewart Frank (Pittsford, N.Y.) collected three saves on the afternoon, while his counterpart, Michael Stone (Boca Raton, Fla.) registered four stops in 110 minutes of play.
Both sides had phenomenal chances to begin the game, as Amherst looked to gain an early advantage when they ripped off a pair of shots in a span of 17 seconds, both of which were saved by Frank to keep the Mammoths off the board. Just 3:14 later, Dexter Tenn (South Windsor, Conn.) had his opportunity, but Stone dove and knocked the ball away at the last second to keep the Pride at bay.
Amherst finally broke through in the 29th minute as a broken play resulted in Luke Nguyen (Old Lyme, Conn.) firing a shot from deep which drilled the back of the net to give the Mammoths a 1-0 lead with 16:46 remaining in the first half of play. From there, both sides battle back-and-forth, as the hosts took a 1-0 lead into the halftime break.
Springfield College turned up the aggressiveness in the second half, as the Pride was able to get three shots off in a span of 4:05, including a pair of chances from Cam Powell (Housatonic, Mass.), but the Mammoths held tough, keeping Springfield College scoreless. With 15:24 to play, the Pride finally broke through when Danny Murphy (Old Saybrook, Conn.) collected the ball on the outside flank before playing it into the box. After a scramble for the loose ball, sophomore midfielder Jimmy Wilcox (Burlington, Conn.) was able to convert to even the score at one apiece.
Both sides continued to fight for the game-winner, but at the end of regulation, it remained a 1-1 tie.
Both overtime periods were same as regulation, back-and-forth play, as Amherst almost punched their ticket to the Sweet 16 in the final seconds of the first overtime period, but the Pride's defense held tough and were able to clear a ball off the goal line to force a second overtime period. In the second 10-minute period, neither side was able to convert, forcing a penalty kick shootout.
In the shootout, Amherst converted two of its three chances, while Springfield College was stifled, falling 2-0.