SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- August 27, 2007 -- On August 31, Springfield College will open up its athletic season as host to a trio of tournaments over Labor Day Weekend. The women’s volleyball, women’s soccer, and field hockey squads will all welcome some of the top teams from around the region in the opening weekend of collegiate athletics for the Pride.
The women’s soccer team welcomes Elms College, Western New England College, and Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts to the Irv Schmid Complex on September 1-2. The Invitational will open with WNEC and Elms squaring off at 5:00 p.m. before the Pride will take on MCLA at 7:30 on Saturday evening. On Sunday, WNEC and MCLA will play at 5:00 p.m. before Elms and Springfield play in the nightcap on Sunday evening at 7:30 p.m.
With several talented returning players Head Coach John Gibson’s squad looks to duplicate its success it had in 2006, going 14-6 and qualifying for the ECAC Tournament. Heading the way will be the anchor of the Pride defense, junior Kayla Thibeault. A First Team All-NEWMAC selection, First Team D3kicks.com All-New England, NCAA Division III All-New England second team and All-New England Women's Intercollegiate Soccer Association (NEWISA) second team selection in 2006, Thibeault started all 20 games for the Pride and will lead the way in 2007.
When the Springfield College women’s volleyball team takes the court on Friday evening, Aug. 31, as host of the Springfield Invitational, there will be plenty of new faces on the floor for Head Coach Joel Dearing. Dearing’s squad will play host to Colby-Sawyer, University of New England, and Rhode Island College beginning on Friday evening. The Pride return just seven players from last season’s squad that went 27-8, and just one that appeared in all 35 matches. However, Dearing is very excited about a corps of newcomers to the program who he anticipates will make an immediate impact for the Pride.
A pair of seniors embarks on their final season at Springfield as Lindsay Marone and Alyssa Muething look to lead the Pride in 2007 while five returning juniors will provide the leadership to the youthful Pride. Aylene Ilkson returns with the most experience on the squad while incoming two-time All-Western Mass selection Bethany Stosz looks to turn heads in her first season in Blake Arena.
As Head Coach Melissa Rogers enters her fourth year at the helm of the Springfield College women’s field hockey team, the Pride look to defend their 2006 New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) title and return to the NCAA Tournament for the fourth consecutive year. Boasting a national preseason ranking of 15th according to the Preseason STX/NFHCA Division III Coaches Poll, the Pride are led by a group of student-athletes that understand what it takes to make it to the NCAA Tournament.
The Pride will open up the 2007 season on September 1 in the Zenaty Invitational. The Invitational will be the inaugural event held on Stagg Field, formerly known as Benedum Field, as Western New England College, Worcester State, and RPI and the Pride will all play on the brand new FieldTurf surface that was installed over the summer. Springfield and RPI open up action at 11:00 a.m. Saturday morning before WNEC and Worcester State play at 1:00 p.m. On Sunday afternoon, the third place game of the Invitational will occur at 11:00 a.m. with the championship game beginning at 1:00 p.m.
Springfield will once again be led by senior Brittany Veazie
, an NFHCA All-American and the 2006 NEWMAC Player of the Year. Veazie netted 18 goals and 7 assists for a total of 43 points a year ago and has registered 94 career points to date. The Pride, who had the 26th best scoring offense in the country last season, will also return junior Jane Kelleher, a NFHCA All-America Second Team selection last season after leading the team with 23 goals last season.