Madeline Hubbard ’19 | Sports Editor
Last Saturday, Smith’s field hockey team prepared to face off against MIT in the NEWMAC Finals.This was the first time the team had made it to the finals in 20 years. Smith ended their regular season play third in their conference with a record of 11-7 overall and 5-3 for conference play.
Beatrice Chaudoin ’19, who was named Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player, said, “There was some really strong competition in our conference this year, and especially during playoffs, but we played for each other all the way through the championship, and that’s why we found success.”
The team had an amazing run in the conference play, starting with a matchup in the Quarterfinals at home earlier that week against Mount Holyoke. Looking for revenge after a 4-1 loss earlier in the season, the Pioneers came out hungry for a win. Smith scored first with a connection from Captain Sammie Pavlov ’20 to Brynn Murray ’21 with a clean push on cage. Mount Holyoke answered back in the second period, pushing the game to an overtime battle. On a fast break in OT, Pavlov scored off another great connection from Murray, dropping an aerial into the net to end the game.
On Thurs. Nov. 1, SCFH continued in the NEWMAC, traveling to Springfield College for the semifinals. The team beat Springfield 5-0 in regular season play and felt confident they could do it again. The team was bolstered by the large crowd of Smith fans that traveled to support and cheer them on.
The game started off as a battle in the midfield with minimal shots from either team. During the first half, neither team was able to get on the board. Springfield took their second shot of the game and scored on the Pioneers. Smith fought hard to stay in the game. With five minutes left in the game, Neva Richardson ’20 slipped the ball in the net. The game ended with a 1-1 tie, and the contest proceeded into overtime.
After ten minutes, neither team scored, and the match continued into double overtime. Captain Emily Biggs ’19 had a breakaway down the right side of the field five minutes into double overtime. The goalie blocked the initial shot, and time seemed to slow as Biggs placed the rebound in the top of the net. The team and fans rushed to the field crying, jumping, hugging and hollering because Smith had made the NEWMAC Championships.
Finally the championship game came last Saturday. MIT scored first, but with plenty of time left in the game and bolstered by the crowds, the Pioneers kept fighting.
When the second half began, Smith was still down one. With two minutes left,, Smith got a corner. Defender Beatrice Chaudoin ’19 slipped the ball to Pavlov for a hard push to the corner of the cage. The game ended in a tie and sent Smith into another overtime challenge.
The coaching staff commented that they were confident going into overtime due to the team’s 4-0 record with OT. The team continued to play well under pressure as Smith went into overtime. With two minutes left, Alex Larosee ’19 ripped a shot near post from the left of the circle, and Smith Field Hockey became the 2018 NEWMAC champions. Smith Field Hockey was content knowing they had finally secured the bag.
Pavlov agreed, saying, “Our win on Saturday was a complete team effort. We knew [that as] individuals, [we] weren't going to win the game. We were 2-0 in overtime play during the tournament and felt confident going into overtime against MIT.” Pavlov was also thankful for all of the love and support from the Smith community and all of the fans that came out to the game. For her, “Winning Smith field hockey's first ever NEWMAC championship, on our own turf, surrounded by hundreds of fans, [was] one of the most surreal moments of my life."
“What an opportunity, to host on Saturday the championship game. The support on Saturday was amazing,” said Head Coach Jaime Ginsberg when asked about the game. Ginsberg, like Pavlov, wanted to express her gratitude for the fans. She said, “The hill was overflowing, and I am very thankful to each fan who helped us achieve our milestone.” SCFH was grateful to see their hard work pay off and win the championship for their team, their fans and the school. The team members are excited to have made history and left their mark on the program. The team will continue to ride the high as they head to the NCAA tournament.