The Springfield College women’s lacrosse team finished with a 1-1 split of the weekend back-to-backs against the Mount Holyoke Lyons and the No. 10 Trinity Bantams.
On Saturday, after honoring their seniors, Heather Raniolo, Bianca Raniolo, MK Jaeger, Kristina Krull, Jen Ryan, and Bridget Thibodeau, the Pride came away with a 12-2 win over conference opponent Mount Holyoke.
“I love this team,” said Heather Raniolo after the game. “I’m very thankful that I came here. It’s kind of a bitter sweet emotional day. I’m glad we came out with the win.”
Attackers Charlotte Wagner and Julia Bell were the lone goal scorers for the Lyons, as Springfield goalkeeper Gabby Anderson collected eight saves on ten shots. Krull caused two Holyoke turnovers, while picking up six groundballs and one goal. Heather Raniolo netted two goals on three shots. Bianca Raniolo scored two goals (two for two on shots), while grabbing four groundballs and forcing two turnovers. Thibodeau forced three turnovers on the day. Julia Bireley picked up two groundballs, one goal, and caused two turnovers.
Head coach Kristen Mullady says that Bireley has established herself as quite a valuable player for the Pride.
“JB was [originally] a defender, now she’s helping us on the attacking end also,” said Mullady. “To be versatile on attacking and defense really helps us.”
During the first 12 minutes of the tilt, Holyoke used their intense defense to limit Springfield to two goals and attain the score at 2-1 in favor of the Pride. The Lyons defense held Pride attacker Shelby Corsano to zero goals (on four shots) for the first time all year. However, they were unable to contain Springfield midfielder Ann Mahoney, who shot 100 percent, and registered four goals, three groundballs, and caused two turnovers for the contest.
“We moved the ball really well on attack,” Mahoney said. “In the beginning we were kind of forcing things, but we [took] a time out and got it together. A lot of people stepped up. We moved the ball really well and were patient on offense, waiting for good feeds and good cuts.” After three consecutive first half goals by Mahoney, the Pride offense swarmed Mount Holyoke’s defense in the second, and finished the game outscoring the Lyons 7-1.
As a team, the Pride torched Mount Holyoke in the groundball game, 28-17. Holyoke won the draw control category (7-6), but Springfield’s defense limited the Lyons to 15 shots, and turned them over 27 times.
With its senior day win against the Lyons, Springfield headed into Sunday riding a four game winning streak. But there was yet another test, another nationally rank foe heading into Springfield that day in the Trinity Bantams.
“We need to use the experience [that we’ve gained] in the games we’ve played against Amherst and Stevenson, and use what we did well,” said Mullady. “We need to play consistent for the [entire] game.”
“We know that they’re a big team, so we’re going to come out and bring it right away,” Raniolo said. “Sometimes we don’t bring it right from the first half, and we kind of wait a little bit for a timeout or a half. We know with [Trinity] that’s not going to work, so we need to come out strong off the draw.”
The Pride went on to fall to Trinity after a grueling scuffle that spilled into three overtimes, in a final score of 8-7. Yet despite the result being in a difficult loss, they still turned in arguably their most impressive defensive performance at home this season, against the No. 10 team in the nation. Bireley and Thibodeau each registered three caused turnovers, which led the team.
“They’re a great team, they’re nationally ranked,” said Corsano. “So to take them to triple overtime is really good for us. It shows us how great we can play.”
Just as the game plan demanded, Springfield began off the draw with aggression. Goals from Corsano (five points, three goals, two assists on the day), Kristen Steidler, Bireley, and Krull dropped the Bantams into a 4-1 hole early.
“Once we got up a few goals it showed us how good we can play, and that we could beat them,” Corsano said. “That gave us the energy and the drive to keep going.”
Springfield outscored Trinity in the groundball game 24-21, while the Bantams turned the ball over 21 times. But the Pride’s subpar performance on the draw control, with Trinity winning the category 14-3, and a stellar performance from Bantam midfielder Martha Griffin (four goals, four groundballs, five draw controls) jumpstarted a comeback. A goal from Trinity’s Clare Lyne cut the Pride’s lead to 4-3 going into the half. Lyne went on to tie the game at seven late in the second with 9:32 to go in the game.
Springfield received a tremendous effort from Anderson, who absorbed a career high 14 saves, three of those saves coming in overtime to keep the Pride afloat. Trinity proved victorious after its midfielder Karly Simpson delivered the game winning shot in the contest’s third overtime.
The loss dropped Springfield to 0-2 on the year against nationally ranked opponents, but the team is encouraged by their fight in which they employed on Trinity.
“They were athletic, but we wanted it more,” said Corsano. “We gave it all we had, we ran as fast as we ever ran and we pressured them right until the very end.”
The Pride, now 9-3, will visit conference rival Wheaton on Saturday, before returning to Stagg Field to take on Smith in their final regular season home game on Wednesday.