Men’s soccer beats Springfield 2-0

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Photo: Jianbo Ma

The Emerson men’s soccer team defeated Springfield College on Sept. 17.

By Jianbo Ma and Puiman Tsui

The Emerson Lions defeated the Springfield Pride 2-0 at home in their NEWMAC season opener on Sept. 17. 

Entering the game, the Lions were undefeated, riding the momentum of their stellar defensive play as they had only conceded two goals on the year. 

The first 45 minutes of the game against the Pride was scoreless, but it wasn’t without action as the Lions made four shots on goal. Springfield was also strong offensively, forcing first-year goalkeeper Matthew Muller to make five saves in the first half. 

The offensive pressure from both teams didn’t slow as they transitioned into the second half, with both teams getting another chance at goal. But in the 52nd minute of the match, the Lions had their best chance of the game after they were awarded a penalty kick. Standing in front of the goal, sophomore midfielder Gregory Kopanezos slotted the ball past the keeper to give the Lions the lead. 

Much of the same occurred in the second half, with multiple shots being saved on each end of the field. In the 83rd minute, first-year midfielder Jorah Delbanco received a long pass from a teammate on the left and cut inside, scoring to put the final nail in the Pride’s coffin. 

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Delbanco moved swiftly with technical dribbling and control as he scored. His family in attendance witnessed his performance. 

“I know he has the speed to keep the ball at his feet; his dream is to keep scoring goals,” said Delbanco’s father Sachu Delbanco. “They are such an impressive team. They are so young, creative, and full of energy. I believe they’ll have a great future.”

Hailing from California, Delbanco started at Emerson this fall. He was delighted and excited that  his family came to support his team’s game and witness his goal. 

“Everyone on the team has worked hard through eight weeks of preseason preparation. We are the best team so far,” said Jorah Delbanco. “It’s the result of the whole team fighting.”

Mueller played heroically in the net and was vital to the Lions’ win, making 12 saves to keep the lead intact. He commended his fellow Lions’ performance. 

“A great match, a great team,” Muller said. “We are a very united team, and everyone wants to win. This game proved our strength.”

Head Coach Daniel Toulson said the team’s energy levels could aid in their quest for perfection.

“We did all the things we were looking for,” he said.“We controlled the ball and switched the positions consistently during the game, we have belief, and whenever the game was in a stalemate, they were able to deal with them.” 

Toulson said the whole team was essential for maintaining morale throughout the game.

“The MVPs are the guys on the bench,” Toulson said.“They are super supportive and energetic.”

The game marked Emerson’s first time beating the Springfield Pride in the college’s history and their first in the NEWMAC this season. For senior captain Aiden Ferguson, this game is a promising beginning to the season.

 “It’s a perfect start,” Ferguson said. “The team is resilient, but it’s still really early in the season. We need to keep working for the next game.” 

On Sept. 20, in the Charles River Cup final, the Emerson Lions won 8-1 over The Lesley University Lynx. Han and Bushara scored twice. The team is still undefeated on the season with a record of 4-0-2. The Lions will play their next game on Sept. 24 against Babson on the road.