By Danny Priest
SPRINGFIELD – Eventually, all good things must come to an end. In the 2018 season the Springfield College women’s volleyball team put together an outstanding season. They compiled a record of 23-7 and won the NEWMAC regular season championship and earned the right to host tournament play.
On Saturday afternoon, within the confines of Blake Arena, the Pride’s magical run finally came to an end at the hands of the third seed in the NEWMAC tournament, Babson. The Beavers won the first two sets before dropping the third, but then they finished things off in the fourth set winning 25-21 and the match by a score of 3-1.
“I said to our team, those who were a member of our team last year and where we were last year to where we came this year, obviously you have to be really proud of the improvement’s that we made,” said head coach Moira Long.
Long was referencing last year’s group who finished the season just 15-13 and were ultimately defeated in the NEWMAC Quarterfinals.
“To go from seventh to first and to be hosting the championship, I think our team worked really hard in the offseason to incorporate our freshman and just to really trust each other on the court and to just believe in the fact that we were good at volleyball and ultimately we need to be connected both on and off the court,” she said. “I’m really pleased with that.”
Springfield fought hard on Saturday, but they ultimately made one too many mistakes, which cannot happen against a team as talented as Babson. In the first set Springfield made 10 errors compared to only three for Babson.
Things did not improve in the second set with the Pride committing another eight errors, and Babson again only making three. Springfield fought hard and were able to win the third set, but in the end they could not do enough.
“The fight’s great, I think ultimately we just didn’t come out as aggressive as we needed to be,” said Long.
She added, “We had in I think the first five points of set one, it was a serving error, a hitting error, a bounced ball by them and I think they came out as aggressive as they needed to be and we didn’t. Then we kinda fought back and it was back and forth, but critical errors against a very good Babson team, we said they were very balanced, which they are. I was happy with the fight, but ultimately we need to execute a little bit better in certain moments.”
Jen Donnelly, Hayley Kmetz and Ashley Tanner all had 10 kills in the game for Springfield. Despite the loss, the season was still an incredibly successful one for the Pride.
They bounced back from a tough 2017 season to return to more of the dominant form they have displayed in the past. It was a welcome sign, and encouraging for next season. Despite the disappointing end, Long commended her seniors for the turnaround.
“Unfortunately for those seniors it stinks that it came to an end here, but I think they could be proud of the fact that they really grew in their leadership and kind of were able to bring a team back from kind of the brink of disaster of last year to where we were this year,” she said.
She ended, “I think they can be proud of that, and that had a lot to do with their leadership.”
Featured photo courtesy of Gage Nutter