Sports Women's Sports

Play like a girl: Springfield College female athletes reflect on their journeys

By Cait Kemp

These women are strong athletes. Competing at the Div. III level at a school that values the importance of athletics, they have had to learn to take on the role of being a leader. Throughout their time on Alden Street, they have made a difference in their sport. What has their journey been, and what will they leave behind?

Taylor Pichel, Women’s Lacrosse

Taylor Pichel is a fifth-year Athletic Training student on the women’s lacrosse team. After transferring at the beginning of her sophomore year to Springfield, she had to come in as a freshman in order to be in the AT program. With COVID-19, she gained an extra year of eligibility and is playing her last season right now.

In 2019 – her debut season with the Pride – she scored 43 goals to get herself on the all-time record list for scoring. She also had 11 assists to total 54 points for the season.

This season, she already has 22 goals, and scored a career-high six in a showdown against Babson.

Pichel looks up the field past a Babson defender.

However, statistics aren’t everything. Pichel came into Springfield as the new kid on the team. It’s a situation that can be scary, not knowing anyone and feeling like an outsider. Instantly, though, Pichel felt the connection to her teammates and coach. 

“[The team] is just so amazing bringing everyone in and being so welcoming. I instantly felt supported and it definitely made my transition easier,” said Pichel.

After developing this strong connection with her team despite being new, she was able to become a key player. Since then, she has become a leader and wants to show the younger players the tradition and culture of the team.

“I want to leave a good legacy behind of being a good team player and hard worker. I think that is one of our main things within our team,” said Pichel.

“We always have the Show Up award from Coach Bugbee, and just that means so much to our team. You don’t always have to produce, but being a hard worker I think that’s the biggest thing.”

Sam Hourihan, Women’s Basketball

Since she stepped onto the campus back in 2019, Sam Hourihan has been a standout on the court. Earning a long list of accolades her freshman season including Northeast Region Rookie of the Year, NEWMAC Women’s Basketball Co-Rookie of the Year, and NEWMAC First Team All-Conference (to name a few), to draining a clutch buzzer beater to send her team to the Sweet Sixteen this year, she has had an exciting ride.

Hourihan posing for a basketball photo at a young age

It all started when she was young, inspired by her dad and brother to take up the sport of basketball.

After becoming more serious about it in high school, playing both for her school and for an AAU team, she knew she wanted to play in college. She looked at a variety of schools, but fell in love with Springfield for basketball, academics, and life in general. She was also drawn to Coach Graves.

“She really pushes us. She wants us to be the best basketball players but she tells us all the time she wants us to be strong women, get involved whenever we can and do well in the classroom,” said Hourihan.

Hourihan celebrating mid-game with teammate Grace Dzindolet.

This connection helped to create a strong bond between the team, especially seen this season with their historic run.

As Women’s History Month comes to a close and the anniversary of Title IX comes up this summer, Hourihan reflected on the opportunities that are present at Springfield College for women, especially being such an athletics-oriented school.

“Our run really expanded the following for our team…we got so much support,” she said. “We never felt undervalued as a women’s team which I think is really important and doesn’t happen everywhere.”

Hourihan’s goal is to bring the same team chemistry to next season. Despite losing three key seniors who made a difference on and off the court, she strives to keep their energy going as a leader on the team.

Photos Courtesy Taylor Pichel and Sam Hourihan

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