Babson Park, Mass. - November 3, 2018 - It took 87 minutes and three seconds for either team to find the back of the net, but with less than three minutes on the clock, freshman forward Andrew Ma (Upper Saddle River, N.J.) set up Christian Schneider (Douglas, Mass.) for his sixth goal of the season, helping the Springfield College men's soccer team claim the 2018 New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) title with a 1-0 win over Babson College at MacDowell Field on Saturday afternoon.
For his efforts, Schneider was awarded as the NEWMAC Championship Tournament's Most Outstanding Player. This marks the second time in Schneider's career that he was named the Most Oustanding Player of the NEWMAC Championship Tournament, as he also was honored after the Pride won the 2016 NEWMAC Men's Soccer Championship.
The win saw the Pride improve to 14-4-1 on the year, as Springfield College earned the conference's automatic bid into the NCAA Division III Championship Tournament for the second time in the last three seasons, and will learn its fate during the NCAA Selection Show, which will be aired at 1 p.m. on Monday, November 5. The loss dropped Babson to 12-3-4 overall. This will be the Pride's third-consecutive trip to the NCAA Championship Tournament, as the Pride earned an at-large bid to the national stage in 2017.
Both sides had 13 shots over 90 minutes of play, while Babson was awarded four corner kicks compared to the Pride's three. In net for the maroon and white, Stewart Frank (Pittsford, N.Y.) was sensational as he turned in six saves in the win, while his counterpart, Steven Heintzelman (Middleton, Mass.) made three stops in the loss.
Springfield College had the first two shots on goal, as Jack Rosenberg (Simsbury, Conn.) put a bid on cage just 14:07 into the contest, before Brad Deckel (Lansdale, Pa.) followed up with a chance of his own just 1:10 later, but Heintzelman was able to turn both scoring chances away to keep the Pride at bay.
With 12:56 to play, Deckel was given a direct free kick which he fired at the cage, but the shot was deflected by Heintzelman, hit the post and trickled out of bounds. Just 2:51 later, Schneider looked to give the maroon and white a one-goal lead as he put a header on cage off of a corner kick from Ma, but the chance went just wide.
Babson's best scoring opportunity of the contest came 16:42 into the second half when Ross Shellow (Miami, Fla.) headed a cross from Ryan Goss (Glastonbury, Conn.), which looked to be going in the net, but at the last second was punched away by Frank to keep the Beavers off the board. With under 15 minutes to go, Frank came up big once again when Robert Dunne (Medway, Mass.) put a header on cage, but the senior goalkeeper dove to his right and cleared the ball off the goal line.
As it has all season long, Springfield College turned up the intensity late in the contest, as Tyler Maider (Seattle, Wash.) put a bid towards the net, that just skimmed the near post, but on the Pride's ensuing opportunity, the maroon and white finally broke through as Schneider was able to finish off an assist from Ma, cuing the celebration from Springfield College.