By Tyler Browne
SPRINGFIELD — The 2019 NEWMAC Field Hockey Championship Tournament began on Tuesday, and the No. 4 seeded Springfield College Pride got off to a hot start, defeating No. 5 Wellesley College, 2-1, in the quarterfinals at Stagg Field. Sophomore forward Kyra Ashe scored both goals for the Pride.
Wellesley looked like a much different team than they did in the previous matchup between the two teams, on October 19th, when they were defeated 4-1.
“[I]t was a tougher game but I think we came out ready. We knew what to expect,” said Ashe.
“Regular season is one thing but postseason, everyone has a different approach. Usually you’re going to get the best out of teams and they certainly brought their best today,” said Springfield coach Melissa Sharpe.
The game started slowly, with no score after the first quarter. With just over six minutes left in the first half, Ashe took a pass from Gabby Inkel. She shot the ball past Wellesley goalie Janelle Sullivan and into the back of the cage.
Ashe scored again just four minutes into the second half, this time unassisted. Although the Blue narrowed the deficit to one on a goal by Carson Dennis, they could not get past the Pride’s defense.
“They were much stronger than a couple of weeks ago, and fortunately, we scored at the right times and held on when we needed to,” said Sharpe.
Springfield goalie Elizabeth Morehouse played all 60 minutes and made eight saves in the game, only letting one shot get into the cage.
The victory was also a milestone for Sharpe, who reached her 200th win. Sharpe is the second consecutive Springfield field hockey coach to reach this milestone. Her predecessor, Dottie Zenatty, retired with 377 career wins.
“It’s exciting for sure. But more importantly, it’s a huge playoff win for us and that was our focus coming into today,” said Sharpe.
After the two teams shook hands, the Pride were greeted by Sharpe’s mom, who brought balloons to celebrate her daughter’s accomplishment.
The Pride will return to action on Thursday, when they travel to top-seeded Babson for the NEWMAC semifinal game.
Featured photo courtesy Springfield College Athletics