By Kristian Rhim and Daniel Priest
The Springfield College field hockey team got their first chance at a conference opponent on Saturday when they hosted the Babson Beavers. The Pride came into the game with a record of 5-1 and looked to avenge a loss in their previous game. Meanwhile, Babson entered with a perfect 7-0 record and a stifling defense that only allows 0.56 goals per game.
Entering the day, the Beavers found themselves second in the National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) rankings.
Babson showed off what has them sitting undefeated so far this year by coming onto Stagg Field and leaving with a 6-1 victory over the Pride. The Beavers defense looked every bit as stingy as expected and never really allowed Springfield to find their groove.
Springfield head coach Melissa Sharpe was adamant in saying the Pride played better than the final score indicated.
“On the field it was a lot closer than it probably appears on paper,” Sharpe said. “We had chances very early that I think if we capitalized on the way we intended to I think that would have changed the whole attitude and feel of the game.”
The Pride jumped out very aggressive in the opening five minutes of the first half against the Beavers. Springfield had multiple opportunities to score early that were shut down. After the opening, the Babson defense settled in and did not allow the Pride to generate much offense.
Eventually, Babson turned their defense into offense and opened the scoring with a goal by Senior Jacki Merrigan at the 11:12 mark. Babson added on another with 5 minutes to go in the first half when Ashley Tango scored to take a commanding 2-0 lead over the Pride.
Sharpe was quick to credit the speed of Babson.
“Our defense was tired, they fought really hard but I think a big part of it was they had to chase their forwards the whole time. It’s something we’ve been trying to get our forward line to do a little bit more,.I’ll give them credit they did it really well. They were hard to contain throughout most of the game.”
Despite the issues, Springfield responded and found a gap in the Babson defense. Junior Amanda Nusbaum scored with an assist from from Dani Sweet and the game went to halftime with the Pride stealing some momentum and closing the Beavers lead 2-1.
In the second half the action started off pretty even. The first 10 minutes saw a lot of back and forth in the middle of the field with neither team being able to mount much of an attack. Babson took a timeout and scored immediately after, Elise Towers put one home to give the Beavers a 3-1 advantage.
In the 52nd minute Ashley Tango put in her second goal of the game for Babson. The Beavers would tack on two more late goals. One from Junior Catherine Gilman and another from Sophomore Tori Roche to bury the Pride.
Coach Sharpe knew when the energy shifted in this one.
“I think the fourth goal was kind of a momentum killer, after that I could see the tiredness starting to set in and some mental blocks occurring.”
There is no time to dwell on back to back losses as Sharpe wants to keep her team focused and on track.
“If we can get them to focus on the things they are doing well and then just isolate and practice on the things we really need to build on we’ll be good,” said Sharpe. “Everyday do something better than you did the last game. I think we’re going to be fine and we are going to have a bright season ahead of us.”
The schedule flips quickly for the Pride. They will look to get back to winning ways in their next game on Wednesday, September 27th versus Williams college on Stagg Field at 6:00.