Assistant Sports Editor
Field hockey games are 70 minutes long, comprised of two 35-minute halves. For all but the first 15 minutes of Wednesday’s game against Plymouth State (11-1), the Pride played hard against one of the best teams in New England, eventually falling 6-3 at home.
Unfortunately, those first 15 minutes of the game were not what head coach Melissa Sharpe and the Pride were looking for, as they fell behind 3-0 early. After the Panther’s third goal, Sharpe called a timeout to center her team.
“We have this habit of digging ourselves a hole,” said Sharpe of the Pride’s early performance. “In the timeout, I just told them that we needed to pick up the intensity and start playing our game.”
That is exactly what they did.
The ensuing 20 minutes of the first half and the first 10 of the second were dominated by the Pride. Led by forwards Kelly Gallo and Alexa Carlson, the Pride possessed the ball and challenged the Panthers’ defense, winning six corners in the final five minutes.
Then with 2:44 left in the half, junior Meghan McHugh fired a shot from the top of the circle to put Springfield on the board.
“I just saw a wide-open lane,” said McHugh of her first half tally. “Once I got inside the circle, I just let it go.”
The Pride kept the pressure on after halftime, as Gallo pushed down the right side before cutting it back to Carlson for a goal just 23 seconds into the second half. Then McHugh scored her second goal with 29:16 left in the game to tie the game at 3-3.
However, the Pride’s run ended there. Plymouth scored the next three goals, including two quick ones from Jackie Morin only 2:30 apart. Plymouth’s sixth and final goal came with 16:30 left.
It appeared as though Springfield had one more run left in them, winning three corners in a three-minute span, but nothing found the back of the net.
“We’ve struggled offensively all season, so to get three goals against them is huge,” said Sharpe. “It’s a confidence booster knowing we can come back from behind like that.”
The Pride fell to 2-10 on the season and will take the field again Saturday at 11 a.m. against Wheaton at home.
Jimmy Kelley may be reached at email@example.com