The women’s soccer team’s season ended on Tuesday after losing to Springfield College in the first round of the NEWMAC playoffs following penalty kicks.
This game provided a rematch for the Lions, who lost 2-1 to Springfield on Sept. 28. Freshman forward Alexa Ingersoll scored an early goal for the Lions in the 28th minute, but the Pride scored two unanswered second-half goals to win the regular-season game.
After finishing the season ranked fourth in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference, the Lions faced the fifth-seeded Pride. This close matchup in the rankings led to a competitive game on the field.
Sophomore goalkeeper Megan Rose starred in the first half for the Lions. Despite Springfield outshooting the Lions 14-3, Rose saved all four of the Pride’s shots on goal. The Lions kept the game scoreless going into halftime.
“I thought the team defended very well against a very good team,” head coach David Suvak said in a post-game interview.
The referees called nine fouls in the second half, including six on the Lions. After multiple chances for both teams, the score remained 0-0 after 90 minutes, and the game went into overtime.
Over the two ten-minute sudden death overtime periods, the Lions finished with one shot on goal while Springfield took four.
“I was really proud of what they accomplished on the field in 90 [minutes] and then the extra 20 [minutes],” Suvak said.
Nine dramatic penalty kicks led to a 4-2 win for the Pride. Springfield took the first kick, but Rose dove to her left and saved the ball, giving her team the early advantage. Sophomore forward Grace Cosgrove capitalized on the momentum and hammered her shot into the back of the net.
Rose could not save Springfield’s second attempt, but freshman midfielder Sage Stack placed her shot in the top-right corner of the net to give the Lions a 2-1 advantage. Junior defender Alana Hagerty and senior forward Veronica Alberts missed their attempts, and Springfield made both of their kicks, giving them the win.
“Today we came out with 100 percent heart, fearlessness, and resilience,” junior defender Amanda Benavente said in a post-game interview. “Today was all about hard work and the love of the game. Even though we lost in [penalty kicks], I’m so proud of these girls for giving everything they had.”
The Lions’ finished the season with a 10-7-2 record, and Springfield moves onto the second round to face the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
The Lions started their season strong, winning six of their first seven games. Their lone loss came against Tufts University, the 13th-ranked team in Division III.
After a three-game losing streak, the Lions entered a stretch of eight-straight conference games and won their first four.
The Lions’ next four games ended with two losses and two ties, ending their regular season with a 5-3-2 record. The Lions lost to MIT, the sixth-ranked team in Division III, on the Lion’s senior day. Emerson kept the game competitive but lost 1-0 on a goal in the 28th minute.
The Lions averaged 0.86 goals allowed per game, and the Lions shut out their opponents 11 times throughout their 19 game schedule. Rose ranked seventh in the NEWMAC in goals allowed with 17.
Out of the 23 players on the Lion’s roster, 11 are freshmen. Ten of the first-year athletes started one or more games. Of the 30 goals scored by the Lions this season, freshmen scored 17.
After starting all 19 games and scoring four goals in 2018, Cosgrove doubled her scoring total this year and totaled four game-winning goals.
The Lions finished with a winning record for the second straight season, and Benavente said she is proud of the team.
“We had some ups and downs, but we still came around in the end, and we proved ourselves,” Benavente said. “We proved to the conference that we are a team to look out for.”