Starting the season with a loss is always tough. It’s hard to regain momentum after struggling so much. When it’s eight straight losses to open the year, most teams would count themselves out. They would tend to lose faith and players would not try as hard as they should. They would think that they had nothing to play for.
However, the Springfield College field hockey team is not like normal teams. They fought to the very end of the season and have earned themselves a spot in the NEWMAC playoffs.
Springfield proved that as the Pride defeated WPI, 2-1, in the quarterfinals of the NEWMAC Tournament on Wednesday night.
All the scoring came in the first half. Sophomore Kelly Gallo started off the action with a goal a little bit over 16 minutes into the game.
WPI answered with a goal of its own seven minutes later to even the score, but the Pride remained relentless, as they have all season.
Only 27 seconds later, Gallo recorded another goal on an assists from junior Meghan McHugh, that would prove to be the decisive score.
Springfield now has a battle with the top-seeded MIT Engineers Saturday at MIT.
The Engineers are 15-3 (6-2 NEWMAC) this season.
In their only matchup this season, MIT defeated Springfield in Cambridge, 4-2.
The Pride dug themselves into a hole early, surrendering the first four goals before finally scoring well into the second half.
That loss gave the Pride an 0-5 start. Springfield recovered and finished 5-13 (4-4 NEWMAC).
Saturday’s game between MIT begins at 11 a.m.
After an unfavorable start, the team was able to rebound and learn from their mistakes, something that fills coach Melissa Sharpe with pride.
“I think it says a lot,” Sharpe said. “One, I think that it means they don’t give up and two, that they learn quickly. I’m very proud of them. It’s easy to call it a rebuilding year, but we had too much ahead of us to give up.”
They snapped their 0-8 start with a 6-3 win over Smith and ended up adding three more wins to that tally, bringing their conference record to 4-4. That record was good enough to earn the Pride a No. 4 seed.
“I’m really happy with the conference play,” Sharpe said. “We had a tough out-of-conference schedule like we always do, but that prepared us well for conference play.”
Springfield dropped its regular-season finale in a 2-1 loss to Mount Holyoke. But that is how the season has gone. The Pride keep falling, but always seem to get back up.
Nick Lovett may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org