By Kevin Saxe
The Springfield College Women’s Volleyball team continued their success in the early stages of the season, winning two more matches Saturday in Blake Arena to push their record to 4-0. The Pride fought past Skidmore College in four sets before sweeping Rhode Island College to cap off a perfect opening weekend in their home gym.
Springfield 3 Skidmore 1 (23-25, 25-22, 27-25, 25-19)
The Pride took down the Thoroughbreds in four tough sets to pick up a third consecutive victory to start the season. Springfield, who hit .222, were led offensively by senior outside Jen Donnelly who had 11 kills and 20 digs, sophomore middle Camryn Bancroft who had a team-high 14 kills and freshmen outside Gabrielle Bradley who provided a spark off the bench with 10 kills. Also pacing the offense was freshmen setter Sara Labadorf with 50 assists handed out in the match. Defensively the Pride, who held Skidmore to a .147 hitting percentage, were led by freshmen libero Briana Tovar with a team-high 21 digs.
Off a kill from sophomore middle blocker Bridget Walsh, Springfield jumped out to a 20-15 lead in the 1st set. However, Skidmore answered with an 8-0 run of their own to take a 23-20 lead. The Pride would cut the lead down to 24-23 in the set but as they looked for the point to tie the set, a ball handling error gave the set to Skidmore 25-23.
After a quick start to set two for the Pride, the Thoroughbreds went on a 9-2 run to take an 18-17 lead in the set. After a service error by Skidmore tied it up, Springfield responded with the next four points on kills from, sophomore Katie vonKampen, Walsh, Bradley and a block by vonKampen and Walsh. After some back and forth, Bancroft finished the set with one of her fourteen kills to give the Pride set number two 25-22 and even the match at one set apiece.
In a set that was close all the way through Skidmore seemed to find a breakthrough when they used a 4-1 mini run to open a 23-20 lead in the third set. With their backs against the wall, down 24-22 the Pride answered the call and came up with consecutive kills from Donnelly and Bradley to tie the set at 24. After a service error by Skidmore tied the set at 25, Springfield put the third set away with a block by vonKampen and sophomore Kate Bonsignore, and a kill from who else but Bancroft to take the set 27-25 and put the Pride up two sets to one.
The fourth set like the others started close but the difference was when the Pride trailed early 9-7 they went on a 5-0 run to take a 12-9 lead. Springfield’s lead in the set would balloon up to nine before Bradley ended the set and match with her tenth kill giving the Pride a 25-19 win in the set and a hard fought four set win.
Springfield 3 Rhode Island College 0 (25-21, 25-10, 25-15)
In their second match of the day, the Pride cruised to a three set to none victory of the Anchormen of Rhode Island College. Leading offense, which hit .329, was Bancroft once again who had 12 kills and Labadorf who dished out 24 assists. Leading the defensive efforts, which held the Anchormen to a .000 hitting percentage, was Tovar with 18 digs.
Much like the first match of the day they saw the first set was back and forth and came down to the wire as a kill by Jillian Ward tied the set up at 20 for the Anchormen. However, thanks to two service errors, two attack errors and a kill from Bancroft the Pride would take five of the final six points and take set one 25-21.
In the second set Springfield flexed their muscles as they produced 14 kills and held the Anchormen to a hitting percentage of -.051 while hitting .462. The turning point of the set came with the hosts leading 7-6. With Tovar serving, the Pride went on an 11-0 run to expand the lead to 18-6. Keying the run were attack errors by the Anchormen and three kills apiece from Bradley and Bancroft. From there Springfield would cruise to a 25-10 set victory to put them two sets to nothing.
The third set was never close as Springfield jumped out to a 10-2 lead in a run aided by errors from the Anchormen and two aces form Labadorf. The Pride would turn to their bench and they did not disappoint as they cruised to a 25-15 third set win highlighted by the first collegiate kill for freshmen outside Demi Spanos.
Up next for the undefeated Pride they travel to the MIT Invitational where they face Morrisville State on Friday night at 6:00.
*Featured photo courtesy of Springfield College Athletics