After Springfield men’s lacrosse suffered a tough 9-8 loss back on Apr. 19 against Coast Guard, the team’s playoff situation went from promising to obscure. The most valid option the team had to get back on top of the NEWMAC conference was to defeat Clark and MIT in its last two games of the season. The only problem was that Clark and MIT were the other two teams that were with the Pride at the top of the leaderboards. It wasn’t easy, but the Pride did just that. After taking care of Clark in a 15-9 win on Wednesday, the Pride finished the regular season on Saturday with a huge 15-10 win against MIT. With the win, Springfield is now the No. 1 seed throughout the NEWMAC tournament and will have home field advantage.
“That Coast Guard game was definitely a bump in the road, but maybe in the big picture it made us focus up a little bit,” said Springfield head coach Keith Bugbee. “The league is definitely getting better, which is great. No one is going to hand it to you. If you don’t want to come to play they will be happy to win the game.”
Tom Hurley got on the board first for the Pride 1:50 into the game, but MIT’s Mitch Turley and Jack Strachan were able to follow up with goals of their own to give MIT the early 2-1 lead. Before the end of the first quarter, Springfield would explode on the offensive end. In the last ten minutes of the period Anthony Zabielski, Lucas Habich, Brendan Dooley and Dom Abate would come through with goals of their own to give Springfield a 5-2 lead heading into the first break.
Hurley would strike again to open up the second quarter, but his goal was once again followed by goals from Turley and Strachan. The Pride’s Ty Daugstrup went on to score with 8:25 left in the quarter. MIT’s Turley would get the last goal of the half with 2:46 to go to make the score at the intermission 7-5.
Springfield’s Matt Lacroix took a large bulk of the team’s faceoffs during the game (finished the day 15-25), but teammate Austin Sierra worked in some faceoffs throughout the second half as well (finished the day 3-4).
“Austin [Sierra] and I are two different types of faceoff guys,” said Lacroix. “It was nice to mix both of us in there and give MIT a different look and keep them on their toes bit.”
In the second half, MIT came out and scored three straight goals to put the Pride on edge and MIT on top, 8-7. With 1:04 left in the quarter, Springfield’s Tim Cozens scored a goal to tie the game up and set up an exciting fourth period.
Springfield was not interested in lackadaisical play to start the quarter. The Pride started the period on a 4-0 run to go up 12-8. MIT only managed two goals the entire quarter while Springfield was able to put up seven in total.
As previously mentioned, the Pride will now host the entirety of the NEWMAC tournament. Hurley feels like playing at home has a multitude of advantages.
“It makes us comfortable in warmups,” said Hurley. “We get to come out to our own music, we get to vibe a little bit, we have the homefield crowd and we have the townhouses which kind of throws everyone off and gives us a bit of an advantage.”
Springfield will now play Babson in the first round of the tournament. Bugbee is pleased that the game will be played at home.
“There is nothing like playing on your home field,” Bugbee said. “It’s much harder to win on the road, not that it’s easier at home, but it’s just more comfortable. It looks like we are going to play Babson, which is another good team. Being at home is huge. I did not want to go on the road, but you have got to win wherever you are.”