Wesoloski, Bresciano go from field hockey rivals to college teammates

  • Sophomore Emma Wesoloski handles the ball during a game in her sophomore year at Springfield College. The former Frontier star started all 18 games for the Pride this season. Contributed Photo/Ben Barnhart

  • Audrey Bresciano, left, during a game against Bridgewater State this year. The former Greenfield standout finished her freshman season at Springfield College with four goals and an assist. Contributed Photo/Ben Barnhart

Staff Writer
Published: 11/19/2019 9:51:34 PM
Modified: 11/19/2019 10:30:26 PM

In high school, Emma Wesoloski and Audrey Bresciano were rivals on the field hockey grass. 

Wesoloski was a star midfielder at Frontier Regional while Bresciano was a stout forward for Greenfield, leading to the two squaring off in the Western Mass Division 2 finals on a yearly basis. 

The on-field rivalry is no more, as the two have teamed up to play on the Springfield College field hockey team. The 2019 season was Wesoloski’s second year with the program, while it marked Bresciano’s first season with the Pride. 

Though the two may have been enemies on the field, the relationship was never tenuous outside the game. 

“We knew each other in high school,” Bresciano said. “We’d say hi when we saw each other around town and talk after games. When I came here, we’d talk to the team about how we were rivals in high school.” 

“Our dads are friends so we’ve known each other,” Wesoloski added. “There was no thoughts we wouldn’t be friends.”

In high school, Bresciano’s Green Wave teams had the upper-hand over Wesoloski and the Red Hawks. 

The two played each other in three straight Western Mass finals, with Greenfield coming away with two wins. 

Frontier came away with a victory in the Western Mass finals this fall, though. 

“For this year,” Bresciano said, “she has the bragging rights.”

With her sister, Grace, playing her senior season on the Red Hawk team, Wesoloski enjoyed keeping tabs on her old squad. 

“It was cool to follow them this year,” Wesoloski said. “It was nice to know what was going on. My sister hadn’t played in a Western Mass. final, so it was awesome for her to win one.”

On the turf together for the first time with the Pride this year, the two Franklin County natives each had successful seasons. 

After an 0-3 start in conference play, Springfield rallied to win four of its final five New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) contests to move onto the postseason. 

The Pride won their quarterfinal game against Wellesley before falling to Babson in the semifinals, 4-1. Bresciano scored the lone goal in the loss. 

Fighting back from the slow start showed the mental toughness of the team, which should only be better next year with losing only two seniors. 

“The fact we came from 0-3 in conference and made it to the semifinals, we came together as a team,” Wesoloski said. “We came to a turning point where we turned it on and started winning games. Coming back was definitely very rewarding.”

Following a freshman campaign where she started seven of 16 games, Wesoloski went into her sophomore year with the goal of being a regular in the starting lineup. 

She did just that, starting all 18 games and being a major contributor. Playing in the midfield, Pride coach Melissa Sharpe moved her around like a chess piece, playing her at different positions. Wesoloski is proud she accomplished her goal and that her coach had the trust to keep her out there on the field. 

“I ended up playing five different positions in the quarterfinal game,” Wesoloski said. “It was nice to be acknowledged by the coach as a versatile player. I’m not one with high stats in terms of assists or goals, but I was able to learn different positions this year and use my knowledge from high school as well. I grew as a player. I played some forward, too, which was fun. It was a change of pace.”

The South Deerfield native finished the season with four goals and two assists, three goals being game-winners. This offseason, she is looking to improve her skill set to be even more versatile of a player. 

“I want to watch more field hockey this offseason,” Wesoloski said. “I’ve done a pretty good job staying in shape but coming into the season in shape is always the goal. I’m looking to improve my skills. Playing in the center of the field, it’s about learning where best to put the ball and how to be a leader out there.”

Adjusting to college is difficult for anyone, never mind playing a sport on top of it. Almost a semester in, Bresciano is acclimating well to life at Springfield. 

“It’s a lot harder than high school,” Bresciano said. “Playing a sport made it a lot harder but I think having it be in the fall season was a lot better than being in the spring because now I have a lot more time off. I love it here. It’s so fun.”

The freshman didn’t start any games but saw significant minutes for the Pride down the stretch of the season. She finished with four goals and an assist. 

“I wasn’t expecting a lot of playing time coming in,” Bresciano said, “but I got a good amount of playing time. In the beginning of the season, I played about 20 minutes per game. I didn’t play much in the middle of the year but basically was playing the whole game at the end of the season.”

The biggest adjustment for Bresciano had nothing to do with skills. Instead, it was the change of playing surface. 

“Coming from a high school with grass and going to turf, it’s so much better,” Bresciano said. “I don’t know how I played on grass. It’s a lot faster paced. Probably the biggest thing we do in college that we didn’t do in high school is transfer the ball and switch fields. I wish we did more of that in high school.” 

Going into her sophomore year, Bresciano is hoping to continuing getting better with her stick so she can keep up with the playing time she received at the end of the season. 

Both girls know that winning a NEWMAC title starts with beating Babson, something they both feel is possible. 

Instead of having down time after the season, Wesoloski plans to stay busy by playing on the girls ice hockey club team, the first year the team is in existence. 

She played in high school for Longmeadow, and jumped at the opportunity to join the newly formed team this year. 

The two sports may seem similar, but Wesoloski disagrees. 

“I didn’t realize how different the two are,” she said. “My stick handling is much better. This year was the first time I put skates on and felt more comfortable with my stick handling than my actual skating.”

The ice hockey season runs though March, when Wesoloski will have a much needed break. 

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