By David F.P.
SPRINGFIELD, MA- Regional opponent Mount Holyoke headed down to Blake Arena at Springfield Tuesday night to take on the Pride, who were undefeated in conference play coming into the game. The result would be a quick 3 set win for the home team and a 27-3 record for the season at that point.
Editor’s Note: As always these reports are very offensive focused, this is not meant to take away from the defensive efforts and the cooperative efforts that each player is making, as they are all critical to a team’s success. It’s just a matter of what can be followed and relayed. Many defensive plays and key assists can be missed in the heat of the play.
SC took set 1 25-12 with a flourish of scoring. Pride highlights included an early tandem block, soon afterward Kim Giaquinto served up two consecutive Aces, leading her teammates on the sideline to collapse to the floor (an apparent tradition of theirs), which put her team up by 3, later Sarah Lang-Rodean received a set and blasted it over the net for a kill, Lauren Torvi also took a set and unleashed a painful kill in on the defensive zone, Tessa Smolinski’s attack from back court hit several defenders before not being returned, Heather Lively launched a rocket for her team’s 16th point and Giaquinto landed the ball just in bounds for a 9 point lead, Smolinski took a set and kablammed it over the net, and Lindsay Runge stepped up to serve, the ball hit the net twice and dropped in fro the Ace, an errant Mount Holyoke pass was pounced on and returned hard by Mary Consol for a 23rd Pride point, the next two would come from Holyoke miscues.
For Holyoke, Kathryn Brummer had a key dig early on which eventually helped lead to a point, Morgan Cooley and Kristina Weld shared a block to tie the game early late they shared a block again, Cooley was responsible for the team’s 17th point as well, and Brummer’s whap soon followed, Martina Kneifel picked up a good dig during a long back and forth, Kara Neidhardt had a key defensive save deep into the game, and her teammate Kneifel tapped the ball over the D, though SC would end the set right after that.
In set 2, it turned out to be a closer contest as SC pulled out a 25 to 20 win.
For the Pride, Lively kicked off the scoring early with a spike laced just in bounds, and Lang-Rodean’s kill was not long to follow, she added another smash off the set, and stepped back to serve, sending over an Ace, Giaquinto would strike for the team’s 9th point, and Sonya Mickiewicz had a service ace of her own, Torvi unleashed a big kill for a six point lead, and then came Giaquinto again, Torvi’s missile put Springfield up by 7, Lively whipped the ball in for another point, and it was Cassie Seymour’s turn to send over a service ace, a speedy spike from Smolinski came soon after that, and Torvi sent another kill over, then came another Mickiewicz ace just in bounds, Torvi tapped the ball into a gap in the visiting defense to get the team within 1, it was Giaquinto’s thundershot just in bounds that got them within 2, then she served up an ace to cut the points needed to 1, after a Mount Holyoke surge, Lang-Rodean ended the set with a kill.
The visitors’ highlights included a Brummer kill early on, she would add another for the team’s 4th point, Kneifel tapped it in and with a teammate’s kill the lead was cut midway through, Cooley sent a spike down the line with success, the team went on a four point run to cut the lead significantly, following a great save by Kneifel, Weld’s kill succeeded and the team cut the lead to 5 off a Springfield miscue.
In set 3, Springfield exploded to a 25-13 set and match win. Torvi struck early, and Lang-Rodean got a running start for smashing the ball down on her opponents, Giaquinto then delivered another of the team’s many service ace’s of the evening, only to follow it with another, Lively had a kill to put the score at 8-2, Smolinski crushed a kill over for the 10th point of the set, and she added a cross court spike not long after, Itza Nieves had a good diving save during a long rally midway through, Smolinski hammered a spike in for a 12-5 score, and uncorked another blast in to put the score at 14-7, Giaquinto added a diving save which then ended up in Torvi’s hands and she spiked it over for the point, Torvi also hit the next point, and picked up a block, and pounced on a Mount Holyoke overpass for the team’s 20th point, Springfield picked up more points including Lang-Rodean’s block, and Giaquinto’s kill, though the set and match would end when their opponents served into the net.
For Mount Holyoke, Weld sent a precision whap just in bounds for their first point of the game, Brummer had a solo block not long afterward, Kneifel ended a long back and forth with a kill, Weld used a tap to get over the blockers, late Cooley picked up a point, and following a defensive save by Kneifel, Brummer had a tap over for the kill.
For Springfield, their undefeated streak conference record is intact and they picked up a 27th win. Mount Holyoke dropped to 8-16 on the season.