Wellesley beats Springfield despite injuries, team remains undefeated
Published: Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Updated: Thursday, September 20, 2012 16:09
Teamwork, drive and a spirited crowd led Wellesley volleyball to defeat Springfield 25-20, 25-21, 14-25, 25-14.
Both teams started off strong, with impressive saves by several players. However, in the middle of the first set, Megan Mills ’14 exited the game because of a sprained ankle but this incident didn’t rattle the team. Springfield attempted to make a comeback later in the game but Wellesley later snatched the first set 25-20.
The teams started off neck-and-neck in the second set, but Wellesley managed to maintain a lead over Springfield. Communication was key for the team, and it paid off. Courtney Lang ’16 was especially impressive as one of the two first-years on the volleyball team. She contributed several points to the final score.
Wellesley support from the crowd did not waver; “superfans” donned light-up mohawks, and constant cheering from the bleachers raised the spirits of both spectators and players.
Still, fatigue set in during the second half of the game. Springfield played well, and even with excellent saves by Sydney Carfagno ‘15 and Lang, Wellesley couldn’t bridge the gap. The Springfield Spirit took the third set 25-14. With several players sidelined due to injury or playing while injured, the team had to adjust to several rotations that they hadn’t practiced. “[The team] wants this badly, they’re working hard, playing well and have lots of talent,” one spectator said.
After losing to Springfield in the final set of the conference finals last year, the Blue didn’t want a repeat performance. Perhaps it was Springfield doing Tim Tebow’s signature pose after they won their set, or maybe it was the enthusiastic crowd, but either way, Wellesley came back with full force to dominate the last set 25-14 and win the match.
Wellesley coaches Tom Wilson and Dorothy Webb both commented on the speed of Springfield’s offense, but also pointed out the strength of Wellesley’s defense during the match. “[The team] played very solid floor defense, out-digging Springfield 55-51. We also did a good job at the net, out-blocking Springfield 10-5. That was nice to see, given the speed of Springfield’s offense,” Wilson said.
“We played very well, but [the game] also teaches us what we have to work on,” Head Coach Webb said.
Wellesley entered the game with several injured players and then had to compensate for Mills’ injury early in the game. “Everyone stepped up in their positions to beat Springfield. They didn’t let Megan’s injury rattle them and they pushed even harder to win. It was just as exciting to watch as I am sure it was to play,” Kellyn O’Brady ’14 said.
Leadership also played a key role in the team’s win. Wilson noted the experience and focus of the returning players. “Vivian [Hu ’13], Traci [Hamanaka ’14] and Sydney [Carfagno] were great. Lindsey [Menichella ’15] and Courtney [Lang] also played very well, stepping in for injured players. We’re deep in every position and it showed today. Overall, it was a terrific team effort.”
With this win, Wellesley moves to 9-0 on the season and 2-0 in the conference. With several players sidelined due to injury, Wellesley hasn’t even been able to play its full lineup. The Blue should make a deep run into the conference and national tournaments.