By Evan Wheaton
“LET’S GO JOE!”
“ANOTHER ONE FOR HAWLEY!”
Cheers erupted at Stagg Field as junior Joe Hawley scored his seventh goal on the day against Nazareth during the Springfield College men’s lacrosse home opener.
“It just fell into place,” said Hawley. “We always got back pipe and I put that one in and said ‘alright, another one.”
One of Hawley’s goals came right before halftime with just under three seconds left.
“He just had it going,” said head coach Keith Bugbee. “He’s been playing really well. It’s a really good attack, they just complement each other really well. He sunk a couple and I was like ‘whoa.’ That one he scored right before half, I didn’t think he’d have enough time to get it in.”
Five of Hawley’s goals came in the third quarter. He also finished the game with two assists.
“I was just playing off my teammates,” said Hawley. “Everything kind of happened with them, moving the ball, and us getting it through X.”
A career-best game for Hawley, he spearheaded the Pride’s high-powered offense. Despite mounting penalties, Springfield went on to rout Nazareth 19-7 to win their first regular season game of the year.
“We were fouled a little bit too much early and then we tightened that up,” said Bugbee. “I think we were just excited, it’s the first game. We challenged them at halftime to stay out of the box. The only thing they were beating us early in was man up, I mean we just had to stay out of the box.”
Nazareth was able to capitalize on man-up opportunities, scoring three goals as opposed to Springfield’s two.
Hawley wasn’t the only one enjoying a career-high performance. Senior Cole Finerty stepped into his new starting goalie role with 22 saves, while Nazareth switched their goalkeeper out with 11 minutes left in regulation.
Both teams were close in shots; Springfield had 42, while Nazareth had 41. They were also close with ground balls, Springfield picking up 34 and Nazareth getting 32. The Pride had 11 total assists across the board.
“We were unselfish, shared the ball, stayed within the system,” said Bugbee. “We did a really good job, a lot of different guys scored, which is great. A lot of times the first shot that came around was probably okay, but then they moved it on for one more really good shot. We were making really good decisions with the ball and I don’t think we forced a lot and we had a lot of composure all over the field.”
With such a dominant first game, Springfield made a statement. Starting the season 1-0, the Pride are wasting no time chasing their 12th consecutive conference title.
The Pride will continue their campaign on Mar. 2 when they host Stevens.