Babson Park, Mass. - November 6, 2016 - Behind goals from Brad Deckel (Lansdale, Pa.), Cam Powell (Housatonic, Mass.) and Curtis Bolduc (South Windsor, Conn.), the second-seeded Springfield College men's soccer team defeated fourth-seeded Wheaton College, 3-1, and claimed the 2016 New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Championship on Sunday afternoon at Hartwell-Rogers Field on the campus of Babson College.
With the win, Springfield College, which broke into the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) National Rankings for the first time in Division III program history this past week, improves to 18-1-1 on the year, and will advance to the NCAA Division III Championship Tournament. The Pride's 18 wins this year is a Springfield College men's soccer program record, as the previous record was 17 wins in 1989.
Springfield College will learn its fate in the NCAA Division III Championship Tournament during the NCAA Selection Show on Monday, November 7 at 1 p.m., which will be broacasted on NCAA.com. For his efforts throughout the weekend, sophomore forward Christian Schneider (Douglas, Mass.) was named the 2016 NEWMAC Men's Soccer Championship Tournament's Most Outstanding Player.
It has been a remarkable season for the Pride, as it is now ranked No. 18 in the latest D3Soccer.com National Rankings, No. 24 in the NSCAA Divsion III Men's Soccer National Rankings, and No. 3 in the NSCAA Divsion III Men's Soccer Regional Rankings as of last week. Of the 20 games that Springfield College has played this season, the Pride has won every single second half of play en route to a record of 18-1-1 on the year.
On top of breaking the wins record this season, Springfield College has posted the most amount of goals in program history (69) and has tied the record for consecutive wins with seven. In order to win the 2016 NEWMAC Men's Soccer Championship, the Pride needed to defeat Clark University, which was ranked No. 8, and Wheaton, which was ranked No. 12 in the NCAA Division III Men's Soccer Regional Rankings.
Individually, senior forward Luke Alvaro (Chicopee, Mass.), the NEWMAC Men's Soccer Athlete of the Year, broke his own Division III program record for goals in a season, as the striker has notched 18 markers on the year. Additionally, junior midfielder Danny Murphy (Old Saybrook, Conn.) broke the record for assists in a single season, as his 13 helpers this year bested the previous program record of 11 set by Ed Greene in 1989.
In net for the Pride, senior goalkeeper Zach Richard (Millbury, Mass.) posted four saves in the win, while his counterpart, Eric Wisniewski (Salisbury, Mass.) made three stops in the setback. Wheaton College held an 18-13 shot advantage over 90 minutes of play, while the Lyons were also awarded nine corner kicks to the Pride's two.
Springfield College took an early 1-0 lead over the Lyons when a foul from Wheaton in its own box resulted in a penalty kick for the Pride. Deckel stepped up and drilled a shot into the back of the net to give the Pride a one-goal advantage with 26:48 to play in the first half.
The Lyons would even the score at one with 15:18 remaining in the opening half when a Springfield College foul in its own defensive end resulted in a direct free kick for Wheaton, which the blue and white capitalized on to make it 1-1 late in the first half.
With just 4:36 left in the first, Springfield College regained its one-goal lead when Powell sent a throw into the box, which was initially cleared by Wheaton, but the junior got to the loose ball first, took a touch toward the end line and snuck a shot past Wisniewski to make it 2-1, Springfield College, heading into the halftime break.
The two sides played back-and-forth soccer for a majority of the second half, but the Pride finally got an insurance tally when Murphy sent Bolduc wide on a run, and the junior capitalized as he blasted a shot into the right side of the net with 9:32 to play in the contest.
Bolduc's goal proved to be the insurance the Pride would need, as Springfield College sealed the 3-1 victory over the Lyons.