It all came down to the fifth set.
Babson and Springfield were tied up at eight apiece. After the Beavers took a one point lead the Pride called a timeout. Coming out of the timeout Babson scored another two points to give them an 11-8 lead, forcing Springfield to call another timeout. Coming out of this timeout, the energy in Blake Arena was different. The fans were quiet. The players were scrambling for every ball they could possibly get their hand on. Babson took the final set 15-8.
During the first two sets of the match-up, the Pride was full of energy. They came out strong in the middle of the first set and scored five straight points to give them a 12-6 lead. Springfield continued to dominate for the rest of the set. Babson tried to stop the Pride’s momentum, but right after the Beavers called a timeout, Kayleigh Helgesen and Camryn Bancroft had a block to give the Pride a 20-14 lead. Springfield took the first set 25-16.
During the second set, the Pride held a 15-9 lead over the Beavers after a block from Kayley Cimino and Bridget Walsh, which made Babson call a timeout. The Beavers scored seven straight points to cut down the Pride’s lead to just one. The score was 21-20. The Pride finished out the second set just as strong as they did the first and scored the last four points to win the set 25-20 and held a 2-0 advantage over Babson.
“We did everything that was in game plan,” said Pride head coach Moira Long. “We attacked zone one, we served zone one, we used hands and we had quick tempo.”
At the start of the third set, the Beavers seemed to panic. Springfield scored the first two points of the set after Babson attack errors, then Jen Donnelly ripped a ball from the middle of the court to give the Pride a 3-0 lead. Babson was able to tie up the set at 6-6 and from there the Pride and Beavers were neck and neck 10 more times including a 24-24 matchup. After huge blocks from Helgesen and Bancroft, Babson was still able to scrape away a 26-24 win in the third set.
The Beavers rattled off four straight points before Springfield scored in the middle of the fourth set. After the Pride scored the Beavers still led 9-6, and from there Babson scored five straight points to give them a 14-7 lead. The deficit was too much for the Pride and Babson took the fourth set 25-16.
“Ultimately [the team] needs to dig deep and how they trust themselves and how they trust one another,” said Long.
The Pride will look to bounce back at the New England Challenge over the weekend and again on Oct. 24 against Emerson. With the loss Springfield is 14-8 and 4-4 in NEWMAC play.
“It comes down to focus and it comes down to our core values, one of which is trust and one of which is resilience. We have to figure it out,” said Long.