After losing to Clark for the past two years in the NEWMAC semifinals, the Pride were able to best the Cougars in three straight sets Tuesday night. Springfield showed determination when they dove on the court and popped the ball back up multiple times to win the sets 25-22, 25-23 and, 25-18.
“One of our core values is resilience, and we’ve said that a whole bunch. But I think part of being resilient is just being like ‘Oh it looks like that ball is going to be down, but ultimately if I just get one little touch on it somebody else can get it over and then we can extend the rally’ and good things happen when you extend the rally,” said head coach Moria Long
The Pride showed their determination during the first set after Jen Donnelly ripped a ball to the back corner of the court. It seemed like the play was going to be a kill for Donnelly, but Clark was able to get the ball back up and over the net. The Pride quickly regathered and Kayleigh Helgesen got the kill to give the Pride a 16-13 lead which forced Clark to call a timeout.
After Clark was able to take a 21-20 lead in the opening set, the Pride showed just how strong they are after Hannah Lozano had two service aces back to back to put Springfield up and allow them to take the set 25-22.
“We talk a lot in practice about cat and mouse and making sure we are moving the passes around. In my head I’m telling myself ‘Okay I’m going to serve on the left of her or I’m serving on the right’,” said Lozano.
During the second and third set the Pride continued to show their resilience after Daniela Detore dove out of bounds to keep a ball in play and Anagabrielle Sanchez dove to the floor to keep the ball from hitting the ground.
“We focused a lot on being consistent especially on defense,” said Lozano. “We have a play where it’s dig or die, so you pretty much go for every ball you can. Everything is up and you play until the whistle blows. It’s pretty much showing that we’re not going to stop and we’re never going to give up until we get that next point, and we’re always fighting for that next point.”
In the third set, Clark called a timeout as the Pride led 21-16. Immediately after the timeout ended, Donnelly once again ripped the ball across the court to add another kill to the night. Judging by the way the Pride finished out the match, a fan in the bleachers would never know that Springfield had lost to the Cougars in the NEWMAC semifinals in 2015 and 2016.
“We lost to them last year but it’s a new team and a new year so we are going to come out even stronger this year. We have a great set of new girls on this team and we’re just going to focus on this year and not focus on what happened last year.” stated Lozano. “We’re just going to keep on growing and keep on fighting and just do win after win.”