Lauren Torvi of the women’s soccer team and David Chessen of the men’s soccer team led their teammates to NEWMAC championships over the weekend and have earned the Springfield Student Newspaper Players of the Week award for 11/02/11 through 11/09/11.
Athletes of the Week for 11/02/11–11/09/11
Lauren Torvi became only the sixth NEWMAC Player of the Year in school history. The North Smithfield, R.I. native is having her best year with the team. She led the conference in hitting percentage, kills,and blocks. Torvi gained first team honors in the conference, along with Tessa Smolinski, Kim Giaquinto, and Itza Nieves were selected as members of the second team. In the NEWMAC Championship, Torvi and company defeated MIT in five sets. The Pride host the first three rounds of the NCAA Tournament. Springfield first squares off with Westfield State Friday at 8 p.m. from Blake Arena.
Q. How does it feel to rack up NEWMAC Player of the Year and the tournament Most Outstanding Player?
A. I’m honored to have received both of those awards and I feel very accomplished. But I’m pretty sure that being a NEWMAC champion and having the success our team has had this season overcomes them both.
Q. Springfield has had great home crowds, can it possibly get any louder in Blake when we host the first two rounds this weekend?
A. Our fans have been great this season but I think we need to take advantage of having the NCAA’s on our turf and try and attract the biggest crowd to Blake that we possibly can. It makes a huge difference in games and it fires our team up more than anything.
Q. Who does the team feel would be the strongest threat to taking home a national title?
A. We’re really focusing first and foremost on this weekend and taking it one day at a time. Our biggest threat in New England as far as advancing to the Elite 8 would be UMass Boston because of their success this season. We are looking just at Friday’s game right now, and if we win we will continue to look forward.
Junior captain David Chessen helped the team squeak by the Babson Beavers at Hartwell Rogers Field in Babson Park on Sunday. The match would ultimately go to penalty kicks. The Pride won and clinched an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament as NEWMAC champions. For Coach Peter Haley, it is his first return since the 1999 campaign. Springfield will be in the portion of the bracket that has the first two rounds held in Amherst, Mass. at Amherst College. The men’s first opponent will be Eastern Connecticut State on Saturday at 11 a.m.
Q. What did this NEWMAC title mean to the program?
A. Coach Haley is very proud of us and is as excited as we are to have won NEWMACs and receive an automatic bid to NCAAs.
Q. Was there a different mentality that the team used against Babson to win?
A. I think a lot of people thought that we were the underdogs and it was our time to win. Babson has won it the last three years and we were all really determined to not let that happen again. We knew that we worked extremely hard throughout the season and we were committed to winning.
Q. How difficulty was it to play Wheaton at a neutral site, then play the host at the same venue?
A. It wasn’t that difficult because we knew that playing on grass would benefit our style of play against both Wheaton and Babson. Especially because we have great support from our fans it didn’t matter where we were playing.
Q. Did anyone step up their game to force going to penalties?
A. I wouldn’t say anyone in particular I think the entire team raised its performance. We all played really well and stuck to the game plan and fought very hard. I’m proud of everyone on the team for contributing and playing that hard.
Ricky Mazella may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org