Sports Women's Sports

Springfield Field Hockey cruises past Western Connecticut 5-1

By Nick Pantages

The Springfield College Field Hockey team defeated Western Connecticut 5-1 in dominant fashion Saturday afternoon on Stagg Field.

After a tough start to the season last weekend, losing to Keene St. and local rivals Western New England, the Pride bounced back with consecutive wins against Worcester St. on Thursday, and their triumph today against Western Connecticut. Springfield had its most prolific offensive showing today since Head Coach Mia Olsen took over at the start of the 2022 season, as Olsen’s squad reached the five goal mark for the first time in her tenure.

“The past few games we’ve been saying that we just need to click,” Olsen said. “I think we finally had that click moment for this game.”

The game began as a back and forth affair, with Western Connecticut unable to capitalize on a couple of rushes towards the goal.

After a string of successful offensive possessions for the Pride, the ball found graduate forward Kaitlin Bardellini on the left side of the field, who deked the only Wolves’ defender between her and the goal. Bardellini fired a shot at goaltender Kayla Hnasko, who parried the first attempt away, but was unable to stop Bardellini’s rebound shot from finding the back of the net.

“[Bardellini]’s pretty quick and can get in behind the defenders,” Olsen said. “She’s been a welcome addition.”

Bardellini’s goal was the only one on the scoresheet going into halftime, as the second period was scoreless. The Pride had dominated the first half, with nine shots on goal compared to only one for Western Connecticut, but only one goal to show for it. Part of the reason for that was due to Hnasko, who was superb for the Wolves with 10 saves.

However that was not the case in the second half.

The Pride struck just 40 seconds into the third period, where, after some great ball movement, first-year Hailey Gaydos got on the finishing end of an Audrey Dolan pass to slap one into the back of the net to put Springfield up 2-0.

The Pride scored another pair of insurance goals in the final period.

Junior Molly Collins muscled the ball into the net with a host of players from both teams in front of goal, and with a minute left in the third Junior Camryn Morano redirected Bardellini’s shot past Hnasko for the Pride’s fourth goal of the afternoon.

“Everybody stepped up on the offensive end today,” Olsen said.

In the fourth period, Bardellini scored her second goal, and third in the last two games. Sophomore Audrey Hayes got credit for her first assist of the season, with a nice pass to Bardellini through traffic.

Western Connecticut answered back to make the score 5-1 and cut the deficit to four, but it was ultimately too little, too late, as the Pride dominated possession the final five minutes to secure the win.

For Springfield, something to monitor as the season progresses is their roster construction. The Pride have 11 first-year players, with four of the group starting.

“They are not playing like first-years,” Olsen said. “They are stepping right up and right into their roles, and it has been fun to watch them.”

The 2-2 Pride’s next contest will be in Willimantic, Conn. as they take on the 1-1-1 Eastern Connecticut Warriors on Tuesday, Sept. 12.

Photo courtesy of Springfield College Athletics

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