Babson Park, Mass. – Third-seeded Clark University scored a pair of first half goals but second-seeded Springfield College recorded the match's final two tallies – including the game-winner in overtime - as the Pride rallied to take the second New England Women's And Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) men's soccer tournament semifinal match with a 3-2 win on Saturday afternoon.
With the win, Springfield moves to 17-1-1 overall and advances to Sunday's conference title game against Wheaton, who upset top seed Babson in overtime earlier in the day.
Clark, which is ranked eighth in the NCAA regional rankings, falls to 14-5 and now must wait until Monday to see if it receives one of the 19 Pool C at-large bids to the NCAA Tournament.
Score: Springfield College 3, Clark University 2 (OT)
Records: Springfield College 17-1-1; Clark University 14-5
Location: Hartwell-Rogers Field, Babson Park, Mass.
How It Happened:
Playing in the postseason for the first time since 2009, Clark didn't look on edge at all, opening the game on the attack. After Jonathan Guilherme (Oxford, Conn.) was tackled deep inside the box, the Cougars were awarded a penalty kick. Striker Zack Blais (Tiverton, R.I.) fired a rocket past Springfield goalkeeper Zach Richard (Millbury, Mass.) to give the Scarlet and White an extremely early 1-0 lead just 3:23 into the contests.
The Pride found their footing and got on the board in the 16th minute when Harrison Davis found the perfect time to register his first goal of the season at 15:25.
It looked as if the contest, which became increasingly more physical as time went on, would go into halftime tied. The Cougars had other ideas, however, as the freshman combination of Sean Munroe (Silver Spring, Md.) and Mana Chavali (Brookline, Mass.) connected for Chavali's second marker of the year in the 42nd minute.
Clark had golden opportunity to go ahead 3-1 in the early portion of the second half when Blais raced up the left side of the field and cut inside of his defender and sent a blast toward the goal but his shot smacked off the crossbar at 59:05.
As is the case often times following a near goal, the opponent steals momentum with a goal of their own. That was the case for Springfield as a little more than five minutes later, Xavi Arroyo setup Cam Powell for the equalizing score at 65:41.
The game continued its physicality and eventually went into extra time. In the first overtime, Luke Alvaro found himself breaking through the Clark defense but his shot from near the top of the box sailed high over the crossbar.
Springfield finally broke through in the 96th minute when Danny Murphy sent a free kick into the box that Powell headed home, sending the Pride into the championship match.
Inside The Numbers:
The Pride held a 31-10 advantage in shots, including an 18-4 edge in the second half and overtime. Springfield also held a 7-2 bulge in corner kicks and fouls ended up pretty even (11-9).
Man of the Match:
Clark netminder Connor Maguire (Dunstable, Mass.) was superb in between the pipes for the Scarlet and White, turning aside ten shots, while making several plays on 50-50 ball inside the box.