Springfield, which is off to its best start since 2004, now stands at 10-0 on the season, including a 2-0 record in league play. The Bears drop to 6-2, 1-1.
In a rematch of last season's NEWMAC Tournament Championship, Springfield used 20 kills to Smolinski, who hit a smoldering .400 for the match, to control the tempo. Lauren Torvi added 17 kills, while Itza Nieves was terrific on the defensive side of the ball with 21 digs. Molly Giannattasio ran Springfield's offense with 39 assists.
For Coast Guard, Keriann Mason tallied a team-best 19 kills, while Sam Marmolejo anchored the gritty Bears defense with 20 kills. Karen Matic was especially impressive in the loss as she handed out 41 assists, and Kelsey DePorto posted 4.5 blocks.
With the score tied at 15-all in the fourth, head coach Moira Long looked to her bench and went with setter Whitney Miller to direct the Pride down the stretch. The freshman didn't disappoint as she led a late charge, and Smolinski converted on back-to-back kills to give the Pride their 10th-straight victory.
The Pride will continue conference play on Tuesday evening when it hosts Clark at 7:00 pm.
(Photo by Cindi Williamson of Fat Dog Fotos)