Springfield, Mass. – November 16, 2013 - The Springfield College men’s soccer team earned a spot in the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) New England Championship after a 2-0 semifinal win over fourth-seeded Norwich University on Saturday at Brock-Affleck Field.
For the top-seeded Pride, it was the first postseason victory in the program's Division III history. The last time Springfield won a postseason game was in the Division II ECAC Championship in 1989. The Pride also tallied its 10th shutout of the season with the win, the most in D-III program history.
Springfield dominated the entire game, but finally got on the board in the 39th minute on a goal by Matt Dickmann (Paxton, Mass.).
Joe LaBella (Wethersfield, Conn.) made a pass from midfield, sending it in to Dickmann who beat his defender. The Norwich goalie came out to try to make a stop, but Dickmann put it past him into the far side of the net for a 1-0 lead and his second goal of the year.
The Pride didn’t waste any time making it a two-goal game as Ryan Malone (Chicopee, Mass.) scored just 49 seconds into the second half. Scott Morneault’s (Bristol, Conn.) throw in gave John Mankus (Vernon, Conn.) an opportunity for a header. Mankus put the ball into the center of the box for Michael Fowler (Maynard, Mass.) who’s touch set up Malone. The defender ripped it past the goalie for a 2-0 lead and his team-leading 12th goal of the season.
Springfield will take on the winner of Saturday’s other semifinal match up between No. 2 Lasell and No. 3 Worcester State on Sunday at noon in the ECAC Championship. The combined record of the tournament’s final four teams is an impressive 54-18-10. Springfield improves to 14-6 while Norwich falls to 12-5-4.
The Pride offense came out firing on all cylinders on Saturday. Just 30 seconds into the game, Kevin Nowak (Plainsboro, N.J.) ripped a shot that the Norwich goalie pushed over the top of the crossbar for a save.
Mankus followed that up with quick header that hit the crossbar and went over. The Pride had seven shots, three on goal in the first 12 minutes of the game. Malone had an opportunity early on, breaking through several defenders, but his shot deflected off the feet of a defender.
With 14:30 left in the first half, Norwich goalie Greg Payne (State College, Pa.) made a huge diving save off a shot by LaBella that kept the game scoreless at the time.
Norwich made it interesting, nearly scoring with 21 minutes left in the game. Chris Bristol’s (Clinton, Conn.) free kick soared over the defense and hit off the crossbar.
Billy Schmid (Wethersfield, Conn.) earned the win in goal for Springfield without making a save. Payne made seven saves in goal for Norwich. The Pride outshot the Cadets, 19-3 and had the 7-3 edge in corner kicks.
Lasell 3, Worcester State 2
In a back-and-forth game, second-seeded Lasell earned the semifinal win over third-seeded Worcester State at Brock-Affleck Field on Saturday.
The Lasers slotted home the game-winner in the 77th minute on a goal by Conor Fitzgerald (Marshfield, Mass.). Mike Skelton (Conway, N.H.) got things going with a pass to Lawrence Fagan (Weymouth, Mass.) who gave a great feed across the box to Fitzgerald who buried it into the left side for a 3-2 lead.
Lasell will take on top-seeded Springfield in the ECAC New England Championship on Sunday at noon.
Lasell took an early 2-0 lead on a pair of goals by Skelton Both of the senior’s goals came off free kicks. The first, he banked into the far corner, past the dive of Worcester State goalie Nick Zucco (Ludlow, Mass.) in the 13th minute.
He struck again in the 19th minute. He ripped another free kick from 25 yards out, into the upper corner for a 2-0 lead. Skelton leads the Lasers with 22 goals this season.
Worcester State would answer though, making it a one-goal game in the 38th minute. Brendan Whitson (Auburn, Mass.) sent a cross pass to Brian Cormier (Hudson, Mass.) on the right side. Cormier took one touch and beat the keeper on the near post for his third goal of the year. Lasell led 2-1 at halftime.
The Lancers tied it up in the 46th minute on a goal by Whitson. Alex Wolfel (Unionville, Conn.) dribbled down the middle of the field and slotted the ball through to Whitson on the left side. Whitson took a few touches in the box and sent it into the far side for a tie game. It was the senior’s team-leading 14th goal of the season.
With 24:11 left in the game, Lasell had a big chance when Lance Mayo’s (Cambridge, Mass.) shot hit the crossbar and rolled over.
Miguel Colmenares (Caracas, Venezuela) made five saves in goal for Lasell while Zucco also had five for Worcester State. Lasell outshot Worcester 11-10 in shots, 8-7 in shots on goal.