By Carley Crain
The Springfield College field hockey team has been patiently waiting to get back to action, as many players on this year’s roster have yet to play a collegiate game or even have a fall season.
The NEWMAC currently has Springfield ranked No. 3 in the conference, but the team has confidence that they will end up higher in the rankings by the end of the year and go far in the playoffs. They aren’t going to settle for the semi-finals, a spot they are too familiar with.
“I think a big goal for us game-wise is to always come out strong and to score first because we don’t want to let the other team score right away,” explained senior back Gabby Inkel. “We want to set the tone of the game. In the past few years, we have also always made it to the semi-finals, but haven’t made it further than that. We want to change that this year.”
This fall, the Pride opened the season with two wins against non-conference opponents, Keene State and Fitchburg State. A solid preseason during the last two weeks of August helped the teamwork well cohesively as one unit. With their first season back since the pandemic hit, the team is focusing on maintaining a positive mindset while actively working more on mindfulness.
“Preseason went so well. We are all just so positive and really excited to be here and play. I definitely think this is the group where we will go far. We have a ton of potential on the team and skilled players.”
One lesson that many people learned from the COVID-19 pandemic is to never take anything for granted. This forced not only the field hockey team but many athletes to view their sport from a broader perspective, which is exactly what the Pride aims to do this season on Stagg Field.
“We lost a year and we are just so grateful for this opportunity to have a full season. I think we are all ready to get back on the field.”
The Pride will be hitting the road for most of their games this fall, which has been hard to transition back to, especially for the underclassmen. The long bus rides and multiple games a week after classes have not been routine for most of the roster for a long time because of the pandemic.
The NEWMAC this year has some fierce competition, and the Pride is keeping its eyes on Babson and MIT, both historically dominant teams in the conference. One of the biggest goals the Pride has this year is to beat Babson, as they have not defeated them for over two years.
“We are ready for it. Conference play is what we always look forward to the most,” said head coach Melissa Sharpe. “It’s interesting because we really have not played a conference opponent in two years, so it feels weird in a way. We don’t really know what teams look like until we start conference play. That’s a goal for us, to be at the top of the NEWMAC, as it is always competitive.”
The trio of juniors Carly Torrance (midfield), Audrey Bresicano (forward), and Grace Levansavich (forward) are three key offensive players for the Pride this year and have already put up some solid numbers this season. Torrance is currently ranked third in the NEWMAC for assists with three, fifth in points scored with seven, and fourth in shots (15). Teammate Audrey Bresicano is additionally ranked fourth in the conference with her three goals.
With speed and top-notch stick skills, the Pride has a strong offensive front that will be hard to stop.
On the defensive side, Sydney Harris and Inkel have both strength and experience. As seniors, they will be the main leaders on the back half of the field.
The Pride will continue the hunt for a NEWMAC championship with the start of conference play on Saturday, Sept. 18 at WPI.
Photo: Springfield Athletics