Strength of schedule is a term used by people who follow sports as a talking point in attempts to quantify how good one team is compared to another based on the competition they face. The Springfield College men’s lacrosse team will have that to fall back on as the Pride rebounded from six-straight losses to knock off No. 16 Western New England 11-10 on Saturday.
The win, just the Pride’s second of the season, was keyed by the play of junior attack men Ryan Murphy and Ryon Lynch, who combined to score six goals with Murphy netting the game-winning tally with just three seconds left to play.
“I picked up the ball and looked at the clock and it said ‘eight seconds’ and saw that everything was pretty spread,” Murphy said. “I started right and the defender overplayed me a lot, went for the over-the-head check and missed and I got in close and dunked it in.
“The Bowdoin game kind of proved that we could play with anyone and there was an extra hop in our step at practice all week, and that gave us the lift we needed on Saturday.”
The Pride’s schedule prior to their win over WNE included three teams ranked in the top 20 of this week’s USILA Division III Coaches Poll in No. 14 Bowdoin, No. 13 Middlebury and No. 8 Stevens Institute of Technology. The other three losses included New England powerhouse Endicott College, as well as two teams that received votes in Union and Nazareth.
This win marked the second consecutive time that the Pride have beaten the Golden Bears after knocking them off at Stagg Field 10-5 last season.
“Before the game we were talking about how good it felt to beat them at home last year, so we figured why not go out and beat them at their place,” Murphy said.
In addition to the offensive firepower provided by Murphy and Lynch, the Pride got some great play on the other end of the field from another pair of juniors, defenseman Matt Giannelli and goalie Robert Maher.
“Giannelli played a heck of a game and was real physical with [James] Reardon, which we wanted [because] we didn’t want to have to worry about him,” Springfield coach Keith Bugbee said. “Rob played real well in goal and [sophomore] Matt Dalton had a great game with ground balls.”
Now that the Pride are off the slide, Bugbee is excited to get into their Pilgrim League schedule and get some players that haven’t had much of a chance to play into some games. Despite having won the last five league titles, Bugbee is not taking the league for granted.
“Babson and Wheaton have great teams, and Clark has always played us tough at their place. But really, I’m excited to get some kids into the game,” Bugbee said. “It’s amazing how getting on the field bonds a team. Practice and on the sidelines is one thing, but once you get that jersey a little dirty it changes things.”