By Chris Gionta
The Springfield College women’s volleyball team defeated Tufts in Blake Arena on Thursday night, winning their sets 25-23, 26-24, and 25-13 respectively.
After a team-defining victory on Tuesday over Babson, Springfield looked to continue the momentum into Thursday against Tufts.
Springfield proved to carry some of their momentum from Tuesday when they got out to a 14-8 lead in the first set to force a timeout. However, Tufts proved to be no easy match, as they eventually brought the deficit to one to make it 23-22. The Pride were able to close it out successfully, though, by a score of 25-23. Overall in the set, first-year Natalie Billet led the way with five kills.
The second set was another tight affair, with Tufts leading for most of it this time. They got out to a 15-11 lead, with 10 of their points coming off Springfield errors. After the score became 17-15 in Tufts’s favor, Springfield went on a four-point streak, highlighted by a Sara Labadorf kill in which she fooled the defense into thinking she was setting up for someone else. This seemingly gave the Pride the momentum heading towards their 25th set point. Yet, Tufts was able to rally back for a 26-24 set victory to tie the match up.
Tufts carried the momentum of the set victory into the third, where they got out to an 8-4 lead to force a timeout at the hands of Springfield. They then extended the lead to 11-5, and Springfield head coach Moira Long had finally had enough, calling another timeout.
“I think I said, ‘we’re all not doing our jobs, and if we continue to not do our jobs, I’m going to make six subs,’” said Long after the match. “And then they went out on the court and they were way better.”
The fiery threat from Coach Long lifted the team to score five consecutive points to make it 11-10 in Tufts’s favor. The set remained extremely competitive throughout, as neither team had a lead larger than three for the rest of the frame.
For the second consecutive set, the winning team needed more than 25 to win. After it was tied at 24, Tufts committed a service error, which was then followed by a Camryn Bancroft kill to give Springfield the 2-1 match lead.
Bancroft and the Pride did not look back after that. Bancroft provided kills for three of Springfield’s first four points of the fourth set. As a team, they got out to an 8-3 lead to begin the set, forcing a timeout. Despite Tufts’s effort to regroup, Springfield held a lead of at least four for the rest of the set and won it, 25-13.
While Bancroft and Billet led the way offensively with 16 kills each, Springfield’s defense was the story of the night. The team as a whole accumulated 75 digs along with nine blocks. Accounting for 25 of those digs was junior Claire Dorr, who set a career-high in the category. Billet and seniors Ashley Tanner and Briana Tovar also had double digits in the dig column.
“I think it starts in the front row with our block team taking away the space we want to take away,” said Long. “And I think Claire Dorr did an outstanding job. She dug everything.”
After getting out to an 11-0 start, Springfield will take their undefeated record to Emerson on Saturday at 1 p.m. Their next game at Blake Arena is Saturday, October 2, against WPI.
Photo: Lucy Hamilton