By Joe Arruda
The Springfield College women’s volleyball team enters Wednesday with a 10-4 (1-2) record. They sit at seventh in the NEWMAC standings after reaching the conference championship match last season.
But, don’t count them out.
Winning their first conference match on Tuesday night against Clark University, that pestering zero in the win column has now been filled with a vertical stripe and the Pride can continue adding on. After Tuesday’s match, head coach Moira Long expressed her disappointment that it took this long to get their first win.
“It’s disappointing that it’s the first one after we played three, but we are just looking for consistency and every match is important, (asking ourselves,) ‘do we get better every time we step on the court?,’” she said.
Consistency is a word that Long has been preaching since the beginning of camp. The Pride are consistent with their persistence throughout wins, but they cannot seem to win consistently.
Already playing a very tough schedule and collecting 10 wins, it is clear that the Pride have the potential to continue their success from last season and maybe take it even further this year. All it takes is for them to tap into that potential with each contest.
One thing that has been consistent thus far for Long’s squad is that they won’t lose two matches in a row. After all four losses this season, the Pride have responded positively with a win their next time out.
The disappointment comes in games that they should win.
Against WPI, a team who came in with a record of 4-5, the Pride looked like they were going to dominate after the first set. They won 25-9.
Springfield fans gloated about the success of the school’s volleyball programs.
Smiles stretched across the faces of everyone representing the maroon and white.
And then came the second set.
A light switch was flipped.
As WPI came back to win the following three sets, handing the Pride their second conference loss of the season, fans were confused. Most left after the first set, expecting a win, but soon they would check the score for a surprise.
Bouncing back from that tough loss at home was the Pride’s way of showing that they should not be counted out. Though that one was tough, there are many more to come and Springfield is not backing down.
The versatility and depth of the roster was highlighted on Tuesday night, with six different players recording kills. Bridget Walsh and Ashley Tanner led the pack with 9 kills each, and Camryn Bancroft followed closely behind with 8 of her own.
Versatility and persistence were the words of the match, and the attributes that coach Long would love to consistently define her team.
While they did not post their typical hitting percentages, the Pride flexed their muscles in all other aspects of the game. Tallying 8 blocks and 8 service aces, Springfield dominated in what they could control.
They knew the slots, they knew where Clark was going to hit the ball, and what seams to search for on the serve.
And they consistently produced.
Don’t count out the Pride. They have the weapons up and down their roster, they have the coaching, and they have the desire to win. If they can continue to utilize the roster in the way they did against Clark, and express the consistent persistence, this year’s team will untap their potential and be the team to beat in the NEWMAC conference.
With players on the NCAA Division III leaderboards, like Bancroft who was second in the nation for hitting percentage as of Saturday, the Pride boast a mix of proven stars and young players who are just getting their shot.
The Pride will look to continue adding on to the win column on Saturday as they will travel to Maine for a tri-match against Colby College and Bates College at 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m., respectively. They will then return to NEWMAC action in Blake Arena on Tuesday with an opportunity to prove themselves against Coast Guard at 7:00 p.m..
Photo courtesy of Daniela Detore