Springfield, Mass. - September 25, 2016 - Benefitting from three first-half goals, the Springfield College men's soccer program defeated Keene State College, 4-0, in a critical non-conference game on Sunday afternoon at Brock-Affleck Field.
With the win, Springfield College, which was ranked No. 9 in the latest National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Division III Men's Soccer Regional Rankings, continues its hot start and is now 7-0-1 overall. Keene State falls to 5-3 with the loss.
Unbeaten through its first eight games, Sunday's win marked the best start for Springfield College men's soccer in it's Division III program history.
Senior forward Luke Alvaro (Chicopee, Mass.), who came into Sunday's contest atop the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) in both goals and points, registered his 10th strike of the season to begin the second half, while in the first half, the Pride received tallies from junior Douglas Enga (Syosset, N.Y.), sophomore Christian Schneider (Douglas, Mass.) and junior Cam Powell (Housatonic, Mass.).
In net for the Pride, senior goalkeeper Zach Richard (Millbury, Mass.) picked up his second shutout of the weekend, making seven saves over 90 minutes of play, while for the Owls, Jason Smith (Gales Ferry, Conn.) started the game and made four stops, while Patrick Whelan (Windsor, Conn.) came in and made one stop in the setback.
Springfield College held a narrow 17-15 shot advantage throughout the contest, while both sides had five corner kicks.
As it has been doing all season long, the Pride got out to an early 1-0 lead when Schneider got hauled down inside the Keene State box, resulting in a penalty kick for Enga. The junior stepped up and found the back of the net just 8:43 into the contest to put Springfield College up one.
Just 2:24 later, the Pride extended its lead to a pair when Danny Murphy (Old Saybrook, Conn.) floated a ball into the box, and Schneider rose above the Keene State goalkeeper and headed his chance into the net to make it 2-0, Springfield College.
With under a minute to play in the opening half, sophomore midfielder Xavi Arroyo (Concord, Mass.) sent a cross from the left flank all the way to the back side of the net, where classmate Brad Deckel (Lansdale, Pa.) caught up to the loose ball and touched a pass towards the net. With the ball crossing the goal mouth, Powell broke free from his defender and redirected the pass into the net to make it 3-0, Pride, with 59 seconds until halftime.
Picking up right where it left off, Springfield College struck early in the second half to push its lead to four. Schneider gained control of the ball along the right side and carried it down towards the goal line, before sending a short cross to the near post for Alvaro, who one-touched the ball into the back of the net to make it 4-0, Pride, with 31:35 to play in the contest.
With a four-goal advantage and 30 minutes on the clock, head coach Steffen Siebert was able to empty his bench and control possession for the remainder of the game. Led by the impressive play of first-year defender Brendan Claflin (Burlington, Mass.), Springfield College's back line was able to hold the Owls' offense at bay for the remainder of the contest.
Up next, Springfield College will return to Brock-Affleck Field on Tuesday, September 27 when the Pride will host Southern Vermont at 7 p.m.