By : Logan Mullen
After completing two consecutive sweeps on Friday night against Simmons College and Amherst College, the Springfield College Women’s Volleyball Team looked to carry their dominance into Saturday when they squared off against the Eastern Connecticut State University Warriors in the semifinals of the Springfield College Invitational. At match’s end, the Pride found themselves on the winning end of their third consecutive sweep, defeating the Warriors 3-0.
Springfield came out with similar energy that led to their triumphs on Friday, but early on in the first set the Pride remained fairly even with ECSU. However, the ladies in maroon soon regained the stride that led to so much success against Simmons and Amherst. After a series of solid, team-oriented points, the Springfield squad began to settle in and go on to win the set 25-14.
The Pride came out in a much more dominant fashion in the second set, scoring four commanding points before surrendering one to the Warriors. It never really remained close, but on multiple occasions throughout the set Eastern Connecticut dropped hints of a comeback with impressive team plays, but Springfield quickly quieted them before they could surmount to anything. Springfield ended up putting on a clinic in the second set with an aggressive, up-tempo style of play that led them to take the set 25-9.
It took a moment for Springfield to rediscover their form from the dominant second set, with the beginning of the third set starting off like an evenly matched game of chess. However, the Pride flipped the switch and reestablished the tempo of the game to their liking and in turn went on to win the third set 25-13 to complete their third consecutive sweep in the tournament sending them cruising into the finals.
Senior Tessa Smolinski and Sophomore Kelsey McGayhey led the charge for the Pride, but an overall solid team effort by Springfield was the recipe for dominance in their third win of the Springfield College Invitational.
Having dominated the first three matches of the Springfield Invitational, the Pride Women’s Volleyball team faced a familiar foe in the championship: the Lord Jeffs of Amherst College. Springfield beat Amherst soundly on Friday, and they did much of the same in Saturday’s championship matchup.
The Pride wasted no time coming out of the gate with energy and uncanny resilience, but Amherst managed to reciprocate that by staying within relatively close striking distance throughout most of the first set. Springfield, however, soon proved why they had yet to lose by pulling away and ultimately commanding the first set and winning it by a tally of 25-12.
The second set was much closer, as neither side managed to bust the match open, but in the latter stages of the set, Springfield began to show their true colors. They picked up the tempo and began to control the match, leading to a 25-15 second set win.
The Pride entered the third set of the match looking to make it the last of the tournament and win their twelfth consecutive set and as a result the championship; they did just that. The third set had a feel similar to that of the second, but ultimately Tessa Smolinski, Kelsey McGayhey and the tournament’s Most Valuable Player and Springfield junior setter Whitney Miller along with the rest of Coach Long’s Pride volleyball team proved to be too much for the Lord Jeffs of Amherst, taking the set 25-17. In doing so, Springfield was awarded the 2013 Springfield College Invitational Championship trophy.
After the display put on in the Springfield College Invitational, the Pride showed that they are a force to be reckoned with, and that they will carry this momentum all the way through November.
“I think we have a powerhouse team and we all trust each other and value our roles and I think we’re going to be great all season,” commented senior Lindsay Runge after the victory. “If this tournament is indicative of how the rest of the season will go, that is tough to dispute.”