Freshman midfielder Katie Gill scored two goals in the last ten minutes of the game to lift the Springfield College Women’s Field Hockey team to victory Friday night at Stagg Field. Gill’s late-game heroics gave the Pride with their first NEWMAC league win as they defeated the Clark University Cougars by a score of 5-3.
With just 9:48 left, Gill received a pass from senior midfielder Liz Hurley and sprinted down the left side of the net firing a shot in stride that went between Cougar goalie Jordannah Saunders’ legs and into the net. Gill’s score stood to be the game winner as the Pride defense fought off the Clark attack for the remainder of the game.
“I knew that my job was to be on the post so the team can get the ball across and someone can hit it in,” said the standout freshman from Wallingford, Conn. “All that was going through my head was get the ball in the net.”
Just 1:44 later, Gill struck again providing the Pride with a comfortable lead heading into the final minutes of the game.
The Pride found themselves down early when the Cougars’ star midfielder Mel Melkonian opened the scoring off a penalty corner where she athletically evaded her defender and lifted the ball into the net. Melkonian, coming off a season where she earned All American honors, was the main focus for Springfield coach Melissa Sharpe.
“We knew we had to shut down number ten [Melkonian],” said Sharpe. “Tina [DeGirolamo], who we had on her last year played really well when we did that again tonight. We tried keeping her out of the play as much as we could and staying on attack as long as we could.”
After goals by senior Kayla Sokol and sophomore Linnea Quist, Springfield and Clark looked as if they were going to take the draw into the half. Just as time was expiring, Hurley carried the ball left and fired a shot through a Clark defender’s legs and into the net, thus giving the Pride a 3-2 advantage at halftime.
“It’s tough to go down two goals early,” said Sharpe regarding the first half. “I don’t think I’ve ever been this proud of this team in the past few years for the kind of heart and intensity that they showed. They did not fluster one bit.”
The Pride will look to carry this momentum into their next game versus Amherst Wednesday night at 7:00 on Springfield’s very own Stagg Field.