As the calendar turns to May, the Springfield College men’s lacrosse team has finished its regular season and now looks ahead to the NEWMAC tournament.
The team finished the season with a 7-8 record with big wins over Nazareth, Amherst and Babson. However, losses to Endicott and Stevens in overtime, and conference losses to MIT and Coast Guard made it a season of ups and downs. Despite the two losses, Springfield won all of its other conference games including the Babson win.
Although the Pride didn’t finish with the record they had hoped for, head coach Keith Bugbee is excited to be back in the mix of the NEWMAC tournament after a two-year hiatus.
“End of a long season, we’ve had some great games, but we’re kind of where we’re supposed to be. We’re in our league tournament. This is great,” Bugbee said.
A 4-2 conference record, which finished off with a 26-9 win over Clark on Saturday, helped the Pride secure the No. 3 seed in the NEWMAC tournament. The team will travel to No. 2 seed Coast Guard on Wednesday night for the NEWMAC semifinals in New London, Conn.
Coast Guard finished its season with a 9-7 record and an identical 4-2 conference record. The Bears lost to MIT, like Springfield, but they dropped their final game of the regular season, 14-13 to Emerson on Saturday. Even with that loss, Coast Guard’s win over Springfield a few weeks ago gave them the No. 2 seed.
The winner of the Springfield and Coast Guard game will advance to the NEWMAC Championship this Saturday. They will play the winner of the other semifinal, which is between No. 1 MIT and No. 4 Babson.
Babson finished with a 3-3 record in NEWMAC play and advanced to the semifinal with a 15-11 win over Emerson on Monday night. MIT locked up the No. 1 seed with a 6-0 conference record. The Engineers have been undefeated all season as well.
On April 23, Coast Guard and Springfield matched up at Coast Guard. Fueled by a big second half for the Bears, Coast Guard won 13-9. In the end, this was the difference between Coast Guard getting the No. 2 seed and Springfield with the No. 3
“They’re a good team — we didn’t play very well last week. It almost seemed like the offense was waiting for the defense to do their job, and the defense was waiting for the offense to do their job,” Bugbee said.
The Bears came out to a 3-1 start, but a bounce-back second half gave the Pride the lead heading into the half. It was all Coast Guard in the second half, as they limited Springfield to two goals in both the fourth and the third quarter, outscoring them 9-4 in the second act of the game.
With a rematch on the horizon for the Pride, this time with elimination on the table, Bugbee believes his team will be ready.
“It’s hard to win on the road. You have to be tougher and deliberate and more intense so now we’re going to get to practice winning a road game, so that’ll toughen the guys up a little more because if we win there, that will definitely prepare us for Saturday,” Bugbee said.
As the Pride hit the road for a rematch, they are ready to make up for the loss on April 23 and be back in the NEWMAC tournament for the first time since they won the 2019 conference title.
Photo: Springfield College Athletics