The dreaded screech of court burn echoed across the court of Blake Arena, as Springfield College freshman Alex Goslin desperately dove to the ground after a loose ball, after pressing in the backcourt.
The defensive efforts of Goslin, in addition to several other underclassmen, drove the Pride as they defeated SUNY Cobleskill in the first round of the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference (ECAC) Tournament, with a score of 54-42. Of the 54-point victory, 30 were scored by the freshman class alone.
After coming up short to Clark University in an upset loss during the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) quarterfinals, Springfield managed to earn a spot in the ECAC Tournament. This spot was more than just another tournament; it was an opportunity for redemption.
“After the devastating loss last Wednesday night, we were so disappointed that we couldn’t even breathe. It hurt so bad,” recalled Adamopoulos. “The next day we had to come in and have a captain’s meeting with our coach and decide if we wanted to bounce back from this, or if we were just too tired and emotionally drained to push forward.”
Following an anonymous vote, the team unanimously decided to bounce back. “We decided that we did not want to end this season on that,” said Adamopoulos. “That game did not define us. That game does not define our team. That game does not define our season. We wanted to show everybody that Springfield College women’s basketball doesn’t play like that. We do not lose like that on our home floor.”
The Pride made sure to seize this opportunity, coming out strong right from the start. The team tried out a new starting lineup, featuring Goslin at the point guard position.
“She was looking for the right lineup to help us bounce back and bring energy,” said Goslin. “It was a little bit nerve racking at first, but I knew that my team supported me so they gave me a lot of confidence coming in.”
While technically only her second start for the Pride, the freshman unleashed a surge of energy, showing no signs of fear. After driving to the basket countless times, Goslin managed to draw several fouls on the Tigers early in the game. In addition to these drives, Goslin was able to distribute the ball with ease, slipping the ball to junior Heather King on a quick backdoor cut to the opposite post.
Freshman Lauren Rudolph opened the second quarter by diving out of bounds after a loose ball. Her efforts were then followed by freshman Taylor Hall, who made a quick effort to claim the ball as it was aggressively sent back into bounds. Both Hall and Rudolph finished the game with 6 points each.
The momentum continued with Goslin boxing out her defender, overcoming a height difference of nearly half a foot in order to come up with a rebound. She pushed the ball up the entire court and drove to the basket, drawing a foul to add another two points at the free throw line. In total, Goslin was lead scorer for the Pride posting a career high of 19 points.
“It feels a little surreal,” said Goslin. “I’m always looking up to Ava and Lexi and Cheeks as our main scorers, and it was weird to be the one that was scoring, but I couldn’t have done it without my team.”
The freshmen became a tag-team, as Rudolph’s tight defense forced a hard shot, which was stuffed by 5-foot Goslin. Shortly thereafter, Rudolph crashed to the ground after driving to the basket and proceeded to sink both free throws. The half closed out with Hall going to work in the paint, banking a quick shot to give the Pride an edge of 28-26 going into halftime.
The Pride elevated their defense in the second half, allowing the Tigers to only score single digits in each of the final two quarters. Unafraid to dive on the floor, sophomore Gracie Restituyo fought hard for each rebound. Even going so far as getting tripped in the chaos of the paint, Restituyo managed to dribble the nearly loose ball while balancing on one leg, and pass it to a teammate before coming crashing down. Restituyo finished the night leading the team in rebounds with a total of 11.
The Pride rode this energy throughout the final quarter, where the freshmen would continue to lead the team. Rudolph came up with a quick steal and drove down the court, before pulling up for a jump shot. Only a few plays later Hall planted her feet in the paint, and braced as a Cobleskill player sent her smashing onto the the ground, sacrificing her body just to draw an offensive foul. Goslin finished the game as strong as she started it, coming up with a steal just seconds left in the game.
The Pride will travel to top seed Carnegie Mellon for the remainder of the tournament, advancing to the quarterfinals against New York University on Friday.