By Stephen Monahan
SPRINGFIELD — Coming out of the break, Springfield was down one set to zero.
With it being senior day, all eyes were on senior Jen Donnelly to regroup the Pride going into the second set.
For Donnelly, the match was just like any other match that the Pride have on their schedule.
“Honestly we take it as another match and have the mentality of we will win,” said Donnelly. “We want to give them our best and stick to the game plan that coach (Long) has set out for us.”
Donnelly would respond by accounting for four of Springfield’s first eight points, as the Pride went on an 8-1 run to power into a 25-9 victory in the second set.
Donnelly would also surpass the 1,000 kill mark, becoming only the 10th player in team history to do so.
Springfield would go on to beat Emerson in four sets to clinch the number one seed in the NEWMAC volleyball playoffs and be crowned regular season conference champions at Blake Arena on Saturday.
“What we have been so happy about with our upperclassmen is their leadership,” said head coach Moira Long. “The determination they bring sets a standard for the team on and off the court.”
The first set was a battle as both teams went on separate runs of their own. Emerson would eventually take the first set, 27-25.
During the second set, the Pride took over as they held Emerson to a -.227 hitting percentage and four kills. Springfield would go on to take the second set, 25-9.
Junior middleback Katie vonKampen led the way for the Pride in the 3rd set, by going on a 5-0 run by herself to end the set. Springfield would ride her momentum into taking the third set, 25-18.
“All the credit goes to my teammates on and off the court,” said vonKampen. “During every game, everyone is talking with each other and telling me where to swing.”
Springfield would continue the momentum into the fourth set by taking the set 25-22, and win the game, 3-1, over Emerson.
The Pride improved their overall record to 22-6, while keeping their undefeated 11-0 home record in tact.
For Donnelly, Blake Arena has always been home for her during her tenure with the Pride.
“We know that when we are here, we are supported by so many people even outside of volleyball,” said Donnelly. “That creates a positive environment for us to feed off of.”
Springfield will take on the winner of Wellesley College and WPI at 7pm in Blake Arena on Thursday in the NEWMAC semi-final round.
Featured photo courtesy of Springfield College Athletics