Springfield, MA --- Two goals from junior forward Luke Alvaro (Chicopee, MA) in the early stages of the second half pushed the Springfield men's soccer program past WPI, 2-1, in the NEWMAC Quarterfinals, hosted at Brock-Affleck Field on Wednesday night.
With the win, fourth-seeded Springfield picks up its 14th win of the season, just one away from tying the Division-III program record for wins in a season, as it improves to 14-3-1 on the season and will advance to play top-seeded MIT in the NEWMAC semifinals in Cambridge, Mass. on Saturday at 10:30 a.m. This will mark the Pride's first trip back to the NEWMAC semifinals since the 2012 season, when it prevailed over Coast Guard, 2-0.
With the loss, WPI closes its season with a mark of 11-7-2.
Following a scoreless, back-and-forth first frame, it took just 36 seconds into the second half for the Engineers to break the tie when senior midfielder Kurt Naugler (Westford, MA) found a streaking Anthony Vigliotta (Beverly, MA) on the right flank, who hit a high-lofting cross that was headed into the back of the net by senior Chris Murray (Canton, MA) to give WPI a 1-0 edge.
Springfield would pull even just 2:29 later when Alvaro collected a loose ball sent in from Curtis Bolduc (South Windsor, CT) in the middle of the box, and fired a shot past Connor Hoeckele (Granby, CT to make it 1-1 with 41:45 remaining in the stanza, before the junior tallied his second marker of the contest just 2:45 later, when he took a pass from freshman Christian Schneider (Shelton, CT) at the top of the box, and found the back of the net to give the Pride a 2-1 lead with 39:00 left in the contest.
The Pride were able to hold off a late charge from WPI, eventually sealing the 2-1 victory, and earning a trip back to the NEWMAC semifinals.
Over the course of 90 minutes, Springfield held a 14-8 margin in shots, while WPI posted two corner kicks on the evening. Senior goalkeeper Billy Schmid (Wethersfield, CT) registered three stops in the victory, as none was bigger than his diving effort in the 27th minute, when he just tipped a bid from WPI's Vigliotta over the crossbar to keep the Engineers at bay. For the visitors, Hoeckele finished the evening with five saves of his own.
With the pair of goals this evening, Alvaro set the Division III program record for goals in a season with 15, and has now posted the most goals in a single season since David Girouard posted 15 goals in 1992. Ryan Malone '15 previously held the Division III program record, when he posted 13 goals in 2013.
Release Courtesy Springfield Sports Information