With the help of a nine goal run in the second quarter, Springfield College men’s lacrosse won its tenth straight NEWMAC title on Saturday by defeating Clark University, 18-10. Senior Ty Daugstrup finished the day with five goals. Jack Vail had three goals and two assists.
“[Winning the NEWMAC title] certainly doesn’t get old that’s for sure,” Springfield College head coach Keith Bugbee said. “The exciting thing is that they are definitely not coming easy. This might be one of the best NEWMAC championship games we have played I think. We got challenged more and I think we responded to the challenge more. Not that other teams weren’t good challenges. I just think Clark came in here kind of feeling like they could maybe do it, and it certainly looked like they were ready to play at this level. They did a really good job I think.”
The first quarter of play would not be as easy and fun as the three that followed for the Pride. Springfield’s Dom Abate scored 56 seconds into the quarter when he faked a pass from behind the net and curled in front to score a gritty lead grabbing goal. Four minutes and 20 seconds later, Clark’s Brandon King got space in front of the net and scored to tie the game back up. In the last four minutes of the period, Vail would score for the Pride but his goal was quickly followed up by scores from Clark’s Will Mandracchia and Isaac Bass to give Clark a narrow 3-2 lead heading into the first break.
The second quarter of play was the most explosive Springfield competed offensively all season. Just under a minute into the period, Daugstrup launched a shot low near Clark goalie Drew Riopelle-Tyyrell’s ankles and sneaked it by him for the goal. In the last 14 minutes of the period, Springfield went on an all but game clinching 9-0 run to separate itself from Clark.
“We started playing a little faster and maybe a little bit more deliberate with what we were doing [in the second quarter],” Bugbee said. “I think a lot of our good offense came off of really good defensive stops too. They really set the tone. We also shot the ball really well. [Hitting] all of those posts was a good indication of our shooting. We were really trying to hit those corners.”
Coming out of halftime with an 11-3 lead, Springfield did not let up. Tim Cozens and Vail highlighted the third quarter with lead building goals to put Springfield ahead, 13-4. Mandracchia scored again for Clark in the period.
In the final quarter, Clark put together a 4-0 run midway through the period and added two other goals. The Pride were able to hold on and add five goals of their own to clinch the title.
A lot has changed since 2006 when Bugbee and company won their first NEWMAC title.
“The quality of play in the league [is better]. Even the game against Babson the other night, that was a tough first round game,” Bugbee said. “Some of those first round games weren’t like that at all. People keep thinking that the gap is closing between us and the other teams, but I don’t know. I still feel like we control that gap sometimes when we play like this.”
Senior Ty Daugstrup finished the game with five goals and was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player.
“I give the accolade to the whole team,” Daugstrup said. “My linemate Dom Abate assisted me on almost every goal. So I have got to give it to the guy that gets me the ball and gives me opportunities to score.”
With ten straight NEWMAC titles under its belt, Springfield men’s lacrosse has fostered a culture that is devoted to excellence.
“It all comes down to guys that have played before [us],” Daugstrup said on the programs sustained success. “They have really instilled in us that this championship is the first step in getting to the NCAAs. We want to reach this goal every time, but really our overall goal is getting to NCAAs.”
The Pride will now participate in its tenth straight NCAA Division III National Tournament.
“Our independent schedule prepares us a ton [for the tournament],” Bugbee said . “We have seen ‘The enemy’. We have competed really well I think this year in our non-conference schedule. There is a couple reasons why we do it. But one of them is so we don’t go ‘Oh my gosh this is what Cortland looks like?’. We know we can play with those guys, but to beat them you have to play really really well.”