With just three minutes remaining on the towering scoreboard of Springfield College’s Stagg Field, Pride forward Grace Majka of the field hockey team was sprinting hard down the right sideline, giving it everything she physically had. She was racing toward the ball sent from the opposing half of the field, as one of her teammates was trying to set her up for a score.
As Majka finally retrieved the ball, she broke to her left, directly at the opposing goal. When looking up, she found that there was nothing between the goal and herself, besides teammate Audrey Bresciano coming at her on the right side. Being in a wide open two-on-one breakaway, the Prides’ chances seemed great.
Once getting close enough to striking distance, and having full attention of Trinity College’s goalie Olivia McMichael, Majka lifted her stick quickly, looking as if she was going to finally put Springfield on the board. Instead, she dropped a great no-look pass to Bresciano, who slapped the ball at the goal just as quick as it came in. It was the perfect execution of the situation, but McMichael had other plans.
As soon as the ball was shot, McMichael threw herself into a sliding dive to the right side of the goal, making an impressive save.
This one play perfectly encapsulated the course of the game for the Pride, who fell to the still unbeaten, nationally ranked Trinity Bantams on Wednesday, 6-0. It seemed that for everything Springfield tried, the Bantams had an answer.
Despite the loss, there were still plenty of positives to draw from the game; most notably, the defensive unit for the Pride was relentless, led by junior goalkeeper Remy Niland. Niland was a wall in front of the net, tallying a career-high 19 saves by game’s end, and did so on a very efficient 86% save rate. She was keeping Springfield in the game, especially in the first quarter, where the Pride only allowed one goal – something that head coach Mia Olsen finds as a big positive.
On the other hand, Olson also notes that her team needs to capitalize when given opportunities.
“We held them to one in the first quarter, against a really great team, and we were working well together,” she said. “We had a few opportunities, and sometimes in games like this, you may only get one or two opportunities. We just need to make sure that we’re capitalizing when we do get them.”
For Olsen, this game was a big one. She was tasked with going up against her alma mater, and former coach, Anne Parmenter. In her four years as a player for Trinity, Olsen was a two-year starter and co-captain her senior year. In her first matchup against her collegiate team, Olsen found the experience captivating.
“It just feels full circle,” Olsen said. “It’s weird, looking over and seeing them on the other side, but it’s always great to come out and play a hard team. We’re learning things, and it’s good competition. And obviously [Parmenter] is one of my role models. It’s an honor to play against her, especially since she’s retiring after this season.”
After the game, Olsen feels Springfield still needs to work on a few things, but overall, she believes that the Pride played a great game.
“There’s things to work on, like not giving up defensive corners, kind of tightening up the D,” Olsen said. “I would like to get more attacking opportunities, but overall, I think a big positive was the passing. [That] was some of the best ball movement that we’ve seen in a while.”
The Pride look to get back on track Saturday at 1:00 p.m. when they travel for a conference matchup with MIT.
Photo Courtesy of Carley Crain/The Student