Eleven days have been crossed off the calendar since the last time the Springfield College men’s lacrosse team took the field.
“I kind of presented it to the team as an NFL bye week,” Coach Keith Bugbee said. “We don’t usually get a week off like this. I think and hope we got better. We worked hard.”
The Pride have been preparing for today’s game on the road against Stevens at 4 p.m. Stevens is normally a team that Springfield doesn’t have much time to prepare for, so Bugbee believes that his team’s 11-game break could be beneficial.
Located in the heart of New York City, playing at Stevens provides a different setting than visitors are used to. The entire city line is visible from the field, there’s baseball lines throughout the field and helicopters fly over during the game. As Bugbee described it, “there’s a funky feel.”
To this point in the season, the Pride are 1-1 after defeating Gordon College 22-5 in the season opener and losing to Nazareth back on Feb. 27.
“I think myself and the team have been playing well, but we are not a finished product by any means,” said senior Dylan Sheehan. “It is all about coming out with energy and playing hard every day so that we can continue to improve and are prepared for any situation.”
Since then, some players have been able to recover from injuries suffered early in the year and get back on the field. Connor Eschmann had missed some time and barely played against Nazareth, and Tim Cozens is back from a concussion.
However, Brendan Boss has not bounced back from a knee injury that he suffered in a pre-season scrimmage. The senior is most likely going to miss the remainder of the season.
“He’s a great player, and I really feel bad for him,” Bugbee said. “In the preseason, he was killing it.”
Bugbee is yet to find someone that can provide the same amount of consistency and productivity. A few players are rotating through the position, but nothing is set.
Tom Hurley and Sheehan have been the offensive catalysts for the Pride. Hurley and Sheehan both lead the team with five goals on the season. Hurley, a sophomore, also has 9 points on the season for Springfield.
“This year, Tom doesn’t look anything like a freshman. He’s doing really well, and he’s a real bright spot for our team,” Bugbee said.
Hurley isn’t the only sophomore who is able to provide for the team. Bugbee is very impressed with his strong sophomore class which includes Hurley, Eschmann, Kyle Dillon, Chris Cunnington, Duncan Preston, JT Kapnis, Justin Renk, Nick Beaudry and more.
“We have some good young guys who have been playing big roles,” Bugebee said. “JT has really stepped up his game. Initially we thought he’d be a guy that could add some depth to the defense, but now he’s a starter. Guys like Beaudry and Renk have really improved too. They have a tremendous work ethic.”
Springfield heads into a tough stretch of games over the next two weeks. On March 12, the Pride head to Massapequa, NY to play Union. A few days later, the team will hop on an airplane and take flight to Clermont, FL to play Bowdoin before returning to Stagg field for two games against Endicott and Western New England.
“We feel confident as a unit that we can play with any team in the country,” Sheehan said. “We have some good teams coming up, but we embrace the challenge and take it game by game. We believe in our systems.”