It can be challenging for any freshman to make the transition from the high school to the collegiate athletic level. In any sport, the game is much faster and the opponents much stronger.
Timarie Villa and Katie Gill have both made this transition look easy. Both Villa and Gill are on the Springfield field hockey team. They are just two of nine freshmen that are on the team for the Pride this season.
The Pride are off to a fast 3-3 start this season, and both Villa and Gill are huge reasons why. Villa has stepped right into the fire as the team’s goalkeeper. She has started all six games in net this season, giving head coach Melissa Sharpe solid play between the pipes. Villa has been credited by her teammates for her superb play early in the season.
Gill has been equally impressive from the midfielder position. She shows confidence out on the feel, despite her age compared to others on the field. This confidence has shown as she not only has earned her way into the starting lineup, but she is also tied for second on the team in goals scored with three. In a 5-3 win over Clark University on Sept. 14, Gill led the way for Springfield scoring twice and assisting on another goal.
“It has been a little tough transitioning to college field hockey. It’s a lot quicker and the athletes are a lot bigger and they know a lot about the game,” said Gill. “I am really excited to be playing with girls who know a lot about the game and can teach me knew things along the way.”
The play of Gill and Villa has certainly been one of the factors to the early season success for the field hockey team. The Pride have demonstrated solid play up and down the lineup to this point in the season, and it has been a total team effort.
Last year, the team did not have a win in September, and are very happy about the start to this season. While the two freshmen may have given reason for some to look toward the future, this year’s team is showing opponents that they are not to be overlooked.
The team has aspirations of winning the conference title this year, and the victory last Friday against Clark was a step in the right direction. After quickly falling down 2-0 to Clark, the Pride showed great resiliency coming back to take a 3-2 lead going into half time. The Pride forced an incredible 21 penalty corners in the first half, showing the determination the offense had. In a back and forth battle in the second half, the Pride found themselves on top 5-3 at the end of regulation.
SC will look to bounce back after a tough 7-0 loss to a good Amherst team Wednesday, and hope to close out the month of September strong. Springfield has three games in the next week – against Smith, Williams, and Babson College. Springfield defeated both Smith and Babson last season. The Pride travel to nearby Smith on Saturday for a 1 p.m. start