Wednesday night featured a match-up between two in-state conference rivals as Springfield College took on the Engineers from the Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Going into the game, Springfield was the clear favorite on paper as they came into the contest second in the NEWMAC, sporting a 7-1 record in conference play, while WPI came in at 0-8, leaving them 10th overall. Ultimately, the Pride did what was expected of them, knocking off the Engineers.
The story was all Springfield in the first set as the Pride thrashed the Engineers right out of the gate, causing WPI coach Greg Poole to call a panicked timeout prior to his team putting any points on the board. Springfield’s run in the beginning was not stopped quickly, as they scored nine points before their streak was snapped.
That did not stop the Pride, however, as they refused to relinquish their lead throughout the entire first set, winning it by the sizeable tally of 25-6. The first set was dominated by freshman standout Lauren Holt. In the first set alone, Holt posted four of Springfield’s 12 kills, and in turn accumulated a perfect attacking percentage.
The storyline of the second set was not nearly as similar as the first. In fact, Springfield went down at the beginning of the second set, 4-3. From there throughout the remainder of the early stages, the match went back and forth. It took time, but Springfield’s patience paid off as they slowly began to distance themselves from the Engineers, ultimately taking the second set 25-18, propelling themselves into the third set looking to get the brooms out.
Springfield did just that, as they completed their sweep of WPI with a third-set victory over the Engineers. After another relatively slow start that resulted in Springfield being down at times, the Pride eventually rediscovered their previous form and began to extend their lead to a more preferred margin. From there on out, Springfield continued to establish dominance and took the set 25-19.
Wednesday night featured multiple standout performances as sophomores Daniella Crismani and Kelsey McGayhey put together .462 and .545 attacking percentages, respectively. On top of that, senior Tessa Smolinski continued to prove her top-notch abilities as her nine kills led to a .750 attacking percentage. Holt continued her perfect attacking percentage through the remainder of the match, with eleven kills to her name.
On top of that, Marnae Mawdsley, a freshman and Bolton, Conn. native, got her first career start, quarterbacking the Pride to a successful evening while posting 25 assists of her own.
“I was really excited but a little bit nervous,” said Mawdsley. “I really believed in my team and knew everything was going to be alright.”
Coach Moira Long was also pleased with Mawdsley’s performance.
“It was fantastic to see her come in and get good repetition,” Long said.
The big statistical story, however, was a more collaborative effort, as the Pride broke a program record by accumulating a .662 attacking percentage, much to the enjoyment of Long.
“I thought each of our players did their job…and if we continue to remember that’s what we need to do I think we will be successful,” Long said.
In fact, Long admits that she was so animated throughout the match, that she did not even notice the record until late in the game when she told herself, “I guess I should maybe calm down, we’re hitting .600 right now.”
After dropping three of four in Texas, Springfield was in need of a rebound, and Wednesday provided just that. The Pride will now look to carry that momentum throughout the rest of the week as they head to the Volleyball Hall of Fame Invitational this weekend.