BOSTON - Pride junior Jen Donnelly (Exeter, R.I.) finished with a match-high 20 kills, hitting .320 from the floor, leading the Springfield Pride to a 3-1 (25-14, 25-18, 21-25, 25-21) victory over the Emerson Lions on Senior Day at Brown & Plofker Gym. The victory locks up a playoff spot in the NEWMAC for the Pride.
Springfield's freshman Kayley Cimino (Cumberland, Maine) finished with five kills, eight digs, and 30 assists. Bridget Walsh (Garrison, N.Y.), Hannah Andres (West Barnstable, Mass.), Kait Bonsignore (St. Louis, Mo.) all finished with six kills. Junior libero Hannah Lozano (Stockton, Calif.) finished with a match-high 28 digs.
Lions freshman Grace Tepper (Kensington, Md.) finished with 19 kills and a career-high 20 digs for her ninth double-double this season. Junior Kelley Guerra (Randolph, N.J.) added 11 kills, hitting .214. Junior Moira Breenen (Glenview, Ill.) finished with 39 assists while classmate Fara Cohen (Morristown, N.J.) matched Tepper's dig total with 20.
The opening set was all Pride as they hoped out quickly to an eight-point lead at 10-2. The Pride lead remained at least seven for the remainder of the set before back-to-back Donnelly kills finished the set 25-14. The Pride finished the first with 15 kills, hitting .400 from the floor.
The second set was much of the same as the Pride won the opening seven points of the set. As the Pride looked to pull away once again, the Lions cut the deficit to two with an 8-1 run, making the score 17-15. However, the Pride steadied themselves and finished the set on an 8-3 run to win the second 25-18. The Pride hit .367 in the set.
The third set saw the Lions emerge with an early 10-5 lead before the Pride recovered with a 5-1 run for an 11-10 Emerson edge. The teams battled through the middle of the set and four straight points for the Lions provided some breathing room and a 22-17 lead. The Pride got within three but a Tepper kill finished the set in the Lions favor, 25-21. Emerson finished the third set hitting .242.
In the fourth, Springfield strung points quickly to lead by five for much of the early portions of the set. But six of the next nine points put the Lions within one at 17-16. Despite the mini-run, the Pride answered with six in a row to grab control of the set at 23-16. Donnelly's kill would set up match point and Walsh would push the Pride into the NEWMAC playoff with the final kill and a 25-21 set victory.
The win moves the Pride's record to 15-12 (5-5 NEWMAC) while the loss drops the Lions to 13-14 (3-7 NEWMAC). The NEWMAC Playoff field has yet to be officially announced but the Pride will open up the seven-team field on the road. The Lions season is over following the loss to the Pride.