Amherst, Mass. - September 23, 2009 - Despite falling behind 2-0 in the opening 12 minutes of the game, the Springfield College women's soccer team battled back before dropping a 2-1 decision to Amherst College in a non-conference match on Wednesday afternoon. Amber Thornton found the back of the net for the Pride in a clash of two nationally ranked teams.
The loss drops Springfield to 4-2-1 on the year as both of its losses have come to teams ranked in the top 25 in NSCAA National Rankings. Amherst now stands at 3-1 this season.
First-year Kathryn Nathan recorded a goal and an assist—her first collegiate points—to lead Amherst on the day, with junior Hanna St. Marie and senior tri-captain Meg Murphy adding a goal and an assist, respectively, to mark their first points of 2009.
Thornton, a sophomore midfielder, scored an unassisted goal for the Pride late in the first half to cut her team’s deficit to one, but Amherst held the visitors scoreless in the second half to hang on for the win. Thornton’s goal was her first of the season.
Sophomore goalkeeper Allie Horwitz made three saves to improve to 3-1-0 on the year, while junior Katie Delude stopped nine shots in the loss to move to 2-2-0. The hosts held a commanding 26-6 advantage in shots and a 9-1 edge in corner kicks on the day.
The Lord Jeffs controlled the tempo from the start and needed less than eight minutes to score the game’s first goal. Murphy played the ball from the endline to Nathan, who was positioned just outside the 18-yard box. Nathan put a soft touch on the ball and sent a perfect shot just over the outstretched arms of Delude to give Amherst a 1-0 lead 7:39 into the half.
Less than four minutes later Nathan was involved in another goal, this time picking up the assist on a well-placed corner kick. Nathan’s cross made its way to St. Marie, who scored on a header to make it a 2-0 lead after 11 minutes and 30 seconds of action.
The Jeffs held a 17-2 advantage in the shot department in the first half, but Springfield would take advantage of a defensive lapse by Amherst to get on the scoreboard before halftime. Thornton capitalized on a golden opportunity when she stole the ball deep in the Amherst zone and snuck a shot just inside the near post to beat Horwitz with only 4:52 to play before intermission.
Eighteen minutes into the second half Springfield nearly capitalized on another Horwitz drop, but the Lord Jeff defense cleared the ball unharmed. Later in the stanza, Nathan sent a corner to Rizzo, whose header was punched over the net on yet another nice effort from Delude.
The Pride made some late pushes but could never find the tying goal. A corner attempt with seven minutes remaining in regulation did not result in a shot, and a free kick from 30 yards out with 20 seconds on the clock sailed high to seal the victory for Amherst.
Springfield, the defending league champion, opens up New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) play on Saturday when it travels to take on Babson. Kick-off is slated for 12:00 pm