After a sensational 3-0 performance against Roger Williams University in the NCAA quarterfinals, all hopes for the Springfield College women’s volleyball team to advance through the weekend for a crack at the Division III National Championship became a realistic notion.
“I thought we were really aggressive the whole game,” head coach Moira Long stated. “We talked about attacking their setter, playing with fast tempo and applying relentless defense. I think we did all of that really well.”
With all of that being said, the next challenger in the way of the Pride’s ultimate goal was Bowdoin College. From the start of the match, Moira Long’s team was rolling on to the NCAA Regional Finals, until Bowdoin started to battle back.
The clash between these two teams presented some great effort in all aspects, Springfield on the front two sets, but Bowdoin in the back three sets. Ultimately the saying “it isn’t over until it’s over” transcribed into Bowdoin’s mindset; as they sealed the deal in the fifth set, rewarding them a spot in the Regional Finals.
“Bowdoin started to push a little bit harder, and I think we played with a not-to-lose mentality instead of playing with an attitude to win,” the second-year coach said. “[They] were super aggressive, and we weren’t as aggressive as we needed to be.”
After the loss of five seniors last year, people wondered if Springfield would make it back to the Division III National Tournament. In response, Long and her team had another impressive season, finishing 27-8.
“I think we all took a lot away from this season,” Consol stated. “I think we proved to everyone that there are no rebuilding years, and we came out this season just as strong as the last. I think we came together as a team in a tremendous way.”
Over the course of the year, Long’s team knew how to win and analyzed their strengths and weaknesses to make each one better. The Pride’s two seniors, Mary Consol and Sonya Mickiewicz, will be moving on, but there is no doubt for high expectations for next year’s and future teams.
“As a senior, I am just so proud to be a part of this team and be with this group of girls,” Consol, the senior middle blocker proudly said. “I am so honored and proud of the way we all came together when faced with challenges this year. I would do anything to do it all over again.”
Springfield’s roster will shake up slightly, but has returning talent such as member of the AVCA All-American Second Team outside hitter Tessa Smolinski, uprising first-year players including outside hitter Daniella Crismani and middle blocker Elise Brogan, and the outstanding sophomore setting tandem of Whitney Miller and Molly Giannattasio.
“It’s great to set goals and know they’re attainable,” Long added. “I think this team realizes how good they can be as long as we put the work in.”
The Springfield College women’s team gave it their all and showed their true colors throughout the whole season. All expectations considered, this team will resume their tremendous play in the 2013 season.