By Shawn McFarland
Co Editor in Chief
HOLT LEADING THE CHARGE FOR WOMEN’S VOLLEYBALL
Springfield College women’s volleyball senior Lauren Holt was named NEWMAC Women’s Volleyball Offensive Athlete of the Week after totalling 52 kills over the course of 15 sets – equaling out to 3.47 kills per set.
Holt explained that her individual success has been attributed to the entire roster pulling their weight.
“We have really focused this season on everyone doing their job and trusting each other to do so,” she said. “Our defense has been really strong so far so we get to run a lot of in-system plays. In other words, when we get good passes, we can run a strong offense meaning we can get swings from all position to keep the other team’s block guessing.”
The past week has seen the Pride matched up against regionally ranked Amherst and NEWMAC foe Clark, a team that knocked off Springfield College in last year’s conference semifinals. The Pride went 2-0 over the two matches, with Holt recording 14 kills in each contest.
“When it’s a rematch or a ranked team, I do get more motivated because I know they will put up a good fight and I want to give my very best,” Holt said. “It’s more fun to play good teams because the fight makes the win better.”
Holt’s explosive offensive attack has been her calling card with the Pride this season, but her defense isn’t to be slept on. She’s racked up 104 total blocks, an average of 1.59 per set.
“As a middle I am expected to do both, so I work hard on all parts of my game,” she said. “Defense is important because when I put up a good block, the passers are able to get into position and pass a ball that I can get a good swing at. We trust each other to do all parts of our job.”
In her final season with the Pride, Holt has stepped into a leadership role. While she’s always tried to be a role model on the court, her seniority allows her to be more vocal.
“I have always tried to e a leader by example,” she said. “But being a senior has transitioned to verbal encouragements and expectations. I know what our standard is and I hold others accountable to play at the level I know we can.”
O’HANLON RETURNS TO INJURY TO LEAD PRIDE
Johnny O’Hanlon’s junior season didn’t start out as planned. The cross-country star missed time at the beginning of the season with adductor tendinitis – an ailment which kept him sidelined from mid-December through March.
But after physical therapy – and some setbacks – he found himself back on the course for the first time this weekend at the 2016 James Earley Invitational in Westfield, Mass. The results were encouraging, as O’Hanlon finished 24th overall with a time of 26:24:86.
“It felt great to get back out onto the course and race,” he said. “I’m feeling good and confident to stay healthy for championship season.”
For O’Hanlon, his competitiveness made it difficult for him to sit on the sidelines. But he learned to put the team before himself.
“It wasn’t easy. I wish I could’ve been out there with my boys but sometimes you need to swallow your pride and put the goals of not yourself, but the team first. It would be great to be out there in September, but all that matters is how we finish at NEWMAC and regionals.”
Running at Westfield State this past weekend was a great experience for O’Hanlon and the crew, as the Division III Regional Championships will be ran there at the end of this season.
“It’s a course not a lot of us have raced on before,” O’Hanlon explained. “So it was good to get out there and experience before we run there again.”
As championship season approaches, O’Hanlon’s goals remain high.
“As a team we’re hoping to get top three at NEWMAC’s, and at regionals we’d like to be a top 10 team. We’ve got a lot of talent on this team and I think the sky’s the limit. Individually, I’m hoping to make a run for the conference title and nationals.”