There are two extreme ways a team can go about winning a game in lacrosse.
The team can either can push the pace on offense and try to put as many shots on goal as possible, or they can hold on to the ball and draw out possessions to try and get the best possible shot.
In the first half of Springfield College men’s lacrosse game against Western New England, the Golden Bears elected for the latter.
It worked for the first half, but during the halftime break, Springfield head coach Keith Bugbee gave his team a message.
“The only adjustment we made a halftime was to play faster. All over the field,” said Bugbee. “If you’re in fourth gear, go to fifth gear. Everything went up a couple notches (after that).”
Once the Pride reclaimed control of the tempo, the team exploded offensively; ultimately riding that offensive output to a victory.
Springfield men’s lacrosse defeated Western New England, 11-7, on Saturday. Duncan Preston, Cam Glover, and Tom Hurley each had two goals for the Pride.
The first quarter
In the opening period, Western New England figuratively sat on the ball.
“They were definitely taking care of the ball and being picky with their looks (in the first quarter),” said senior defensemen Chris Cunnington. “We felt confident and comfortable that if we just stayed patient and played our game that the ball would bounce our way eventually, which it did.”
Due to the Golden Bear’s ability to control the ball and win faceoffs, the Pride went into the second quarter trailing, 2-1
In the first quarter, Western New England outshot Springfield, 10-5.
Shifting the momentum
Towards the beginning of the third quarter, the Pride led 5-2.
The ball had been stripped from a Western New England player’s stick near midfield. As the Golden Bears went to retrieve the ball, the Pride took action.
Numerous members of Springfield’s midfield and defensemen landed some solid, clean checks to a couple Golden Bear midfielders in their pursuit of the ground ball.
The hits got the Springfield sideline cheering and jumping up and down. The energy emitting from the sideline could be felt all the way up in the press box. That energy translated to the field, and worked its way into the Pride’s play.
“Everybody has a role on the team. Whether it is screaming your head off on the sideline or making plays,” said Cunnington. “We look forward to finding things to cheer about. Whether its a ground ball or a huge hit, if we can get up for each other and cheer for each other then that good energy translates to the field. That definitely helped us.”
The list of players lost to graduation coming into this year was long. The loses affected the team in a big way as a whole, especially the midfield.
Losing talented players like Dom Abate, Brendan Dooley, Tim Cozens, Matt LaCroix, and Ty Daugstrup created a huge hole to fill. Luckily, the team has had players step up in such a big way that it almost feels like nothing has changed.
“We really have six players that make up our midfield,” said Bugbee. “Cam (Glover), Tommy (Nash), (Cole) Pecora (have played great). I was telling (Assistant Coach Ryon) Lynch the other day, ‘I’m not even sure that our second midfield isn’t better than our first midfield.’ because our first midfield is really different. That line presents more matchups because Matty Allen is so fast, Duncan (Preston) is big, and Luke (Habich) is so clever. Our second line is just (a group of) brown baggers. They run hard. They just do the right thing.”
The Pride performed well in just about every statistical category throughout the game, except for faceoffs.
Western New England won the faceoff battle 16-6.
As the team moves into a tough three-game stretch against Amherst, Middlebury, and Babson, they aren’t going to be able to lose the faceoff battle by as wide a margin and still pull off victories. The graduation of LaCroix makes it tougher for the team to be successful in the faceoff circle, but it will have to be addressed before the team gets too deep into the regular season.
Amherst up next
Just like the last couple of years, Amherst College is very good. The team’s only lose came against No. 1 RIT on Mar. 17., 21-16.
“They are really athletic and play fast,” said Bugbee on what makes Amherst so lethal. “They push the ball and have some legitimate scorers. They’re a really good team. Their defensive midfielders play offense too. They just go up and down. But we have them here (on Stagg Field). So, you’ve gotta like that.”
The Pride take on Amherst College on Wednesday on Stagg Field at 7:00 p.m..
Featured photo courtesy of Sam Leventhal