Springfield, Mass. - November 4, 2017 - Behind goals from Dexter Tenn (South Windsor, Conn.), Brad Deckel (Lansdale, Pa.) and Keon Haji (Shrewsbury, Mass.), the Springfield College men's soccer team advanced to the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Championship game with a 3-2 win over Clark University on Saturday afternoon at Brock-Affleck Field.
With the win, Springfield College, which was ranked No. 22 in the latest D3soccer.com National Rankings, improves to 14-1-1 on the year, while Clark now has a record of 9-5-4. Springfield College held an 18-11 shot advantage over 90 minutes of play, while the Pride also had three corner kicks to the Cougars' none. This marks the fourth time in the last five years that the Pride has advanced to a championship game. Springfield College will take on second-seeded WPI in the NEWMAC Championship at 1 p.m. on Sunday, November 5.
In net for the Pride, Stewart Frank (Pittsford, N.Y.) made one save in the win, while Clark's Connor Maguire (Dunstable, Mass.) notched six stops in the setback.
It didn't take long for Springfield College to get on the board as 5:58 in, Danny Murphy (Old Saybrook, Conn.) made a great run toward the middle of the field before slipping a pass to Tenn, who collected the ball and buried his chance past Maguire to make it 1-0 Springfield College. With 19:53 left in the first half, the Pride looked to gain a 2-0 advantage as a Clark foul in its own box set up a penalty kick for Springfield College, which was taken by Deckel, but Maguire came up with a huge save to keep the Cougars within one.
Just 3:15 later, a Springfield College foul in its own box resulted in a penalty kick for Clark, which was taken and converted by Sean Munroe (Silver Springs, Md.) to even the score at one apiece with 21:38 to play in the half.
After battling back-and-forth to open the second half, Springfield College took a 2-1 lead in the 58th minute as Deckel intercepted a clearing pass from Clark, before blasting one past Maguire to give the Pride the advantage with 32:07 to play in the game. With 15:35 to play, Springfield College was provided insurance when Frank sent in a long direct free kick, before an errant header from a Clark defender resulted in the ball landing at the feet of Haji, who calmly slipped a shot past Maguire to make it 3-1, Pride.
Showing their resiliency, Clark continued to apply the pressure late in the game, and pulled to within one when Evan Jurkowski (Ludlow, Mass.) found the back of the net with 3:50 to play in the game. Springfield College was able to hold off the Cougars, sealing the 3-2 win.