By: Jon Santer
Assistant Sports Editor
Freshman Katie Gill scored three goals to lead the Springfield College Women’s Field Hockey team past host Babson College 6-3 Saturday afternoon at MacDowell Field. With the victory, the Pride move on to the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) championship game. The game will be held back at MacDowell Field at 1:30 on Sunday.
With 19:39 left in the first half, freshman Libby Hart made a brilliant pass to classmate Gill, who then gathered the ball and slid it past Babson goalkeeper Kayla Florence for the opening goal of the game. Avenging the 5-0 loss from the last meeting between the two sides, Gill and the rest of the Pride knew how important it was to have a good start to Saturday’s game.
“I think we played phenomenal,” said an out of breath Gill. “I think that is one of the best games we have ever played. It was so much better because we lost to them last time 5-0 so we knew we had to come out firing that’s what we did.”
Springfield added to their lead when junior forward Kelly Gallo gathered a loose ball in the center of the field that was centered by senior Kayla Sokol and fired it past Florence. Gallo, the local product from Westfield, Mass, finished the game with two goals and an assist to pile on top of her team leading 35 points.
“We played great as a team, one of the best games we have ever played. With that it is nice to come together towards the end of the season,” said Gallo.
Taking a 2-0 lead into halftime, the Pride knew that the game was far from over. At the 30:09 mark, Gill found the back of the net again when senior Meghan McHugh assisted the freshman sitting on the back post for an easy empty net goal.
Attempting to scratch and crawl their way back into the game, the Babson Beavers added a goal of their own off the stick of Caroline Malone with 24:49 left in the game.
In an effort to prevent the Beavers from making this game close, Gill was at it again. This time, the Wallingford, Conn native picked up the ball at mid-field, carried it past two Babson defenders and passed it up to McHugh, who buried it into the net. The goal gave the Pride a 4-1 lead with 21:45 left.
Just five minutes later, Gill added her third goal to the lead, followed by another tally from Gallo to give the Pride a safe lead. Putting up six goals against the top seed in the NEWMAC, Springfield coach Melissa Sharpe couldn’t have been more proud of her offense.
“All three of them played really well today, said Sharpe. “They’re a freshman, junior and a senior and so it takes a little time to gel but they’ve reached that point now and they’re just an unstoppable unit. They’re fun to watch too.”