By Gage Nutter
It has been an interesting last few days for Pride men’s lacrosse. On Wednesday, the Pride allowed the most goals they have all season with 18 in a loss to Amherst. Six days later the team turned around and allowed the least amount of goals they have all season with five in a 9-5 win against Babson.
Not a bad turnaround.
The game was the best Springfield played as a unit defensively all season. Brendan Dooley was a menace to opposing attackmen and midfielders. Babson ball handlers couldn’t catch their breath without Dooley barraging them with stick and body checks. He finished with six caused turnovers. Chris Cunnington was efficient in the ground ball department, finishing the game with three as well as one caused turnover. Jake Reynolds finished with at least twenty saves for the third time this season, closing the game with twenty.
After the game, Springfield head coach Keith Bugbee had praise for almost everyone on his team’s defensive end.
“There was some great effort on defense today,” said Bugbee. “Holding [Babson] to five goals is really impressive. [Phillip Dumont] had a great game, [Dooley] did his thing causing a lot of turnovers, and [Cunnington] did very well too.”
The Pride went on a 5-0 run in the middle of the game to pull away from the Beavers and with the persistent defense of Cunnington, Dumont, and Dooley, as well as the always steady play of Reynolds between the pipes, Springfield was able to hold on for the important NEWMAC victory.
Dumont finished with two goals and played stalwart defense all game. He acknowledged that Babson is a good team in the conference and that some assume they will be the team that takes the top spot in the NEWMAC this season. He does not believe the team will allow that.
“When we bring it you can feel it and you can see it,” said Dumont. “Limiting Babson to five goals is outstanding. They are supposed to be the team that is going to overtake us in the league and we just aren’t going to have that. There is no way our effort and heart allows that.”
After allowing eighteen goals against Amherst a week ago, coming back in a big way defensively was something the team made a point of doing this time around.
“Prior to the Amherst game I feel like we were playing outstanding, but then we slipped up and that didn’t really settle with us well,” said Dumont. “So we decided to really come out and set a tone for league play this year. I think we put our foot down in the right kind of way.”
Sophomore attackman Jack Vail scored three goals to take his season total to 17 – a team-high.
Vail has jumped onto the scene in a big way so far in his sophomore season. Bugbee believes its Vail’s mechanics that have helped him succeed.
“His shooting percentage is unbelievable,” said Bugbee. “He is doing great, he is such a good finisher and has a really quick release. It does not take him a lot of time to get his shot off. He is doing a great job.”
Bugbee felt like his offense could have picked their spots a little bit better when it came to shooting sometimes, but he also acknowledged that Babson’s goalie Christopher Aranalde played a great game as well.
“Some of our shots could have been a little bit better when it comes to location,” said Bugbee. “But we generate a lot of good offense. I think [Babson[ has a really good goalie too. It couldn’t just be a good shot, it had to be a great shot. Like stick side high is not going in, but once we got him moving a bit that’s when the shots started to go.”
Springfield plays again on Saturday at 1:00 when they take on Massachusetts Maritime Academy at home.