SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — Lacrosse, more than any other sport, is a game of runs. Whether it’s running the ball on a clear, running towards the goal, or going on multiple goal scoring runs, it’s whoever has the biggest run that typically comes out on top. On Friday afternoon, Nazareth got a late two-goal run against No. 14 Springfield to break a 13-13 tie and give the Golden Flyers the upset victory.
Nick Loscalzo and Luke Wooters tallied twice in the final five minutes for Nazareth with both goals coming at even strength and of the unassisted variety. The late two-goal run built on an earlier four-goal run that brought Nazareth back from a 10-7 deficit late in the third quarter.
The key to the comeback for Nazareth was in their composure and ability to keep possession down the stretch. With three new defensemen in the back for Springfield, the Golden Flyers moved the ball around comfortably and ate up much of the final five minutes of the game.
“They looked young,” said Springfield coach Keith Bugbee of his back line. “[Matt] Giannelli looked good, but he’s a junior. The other two guys looked like sophomores. A little deer in headlights out there against a team that moves the ball really really well. It was definitely a grow up game for them.”
The Pride graduated all three starting defensemen from last year’s team in Tim Cimini, Ross Marchegiani and current assistant coach Jason Ohnsman. In their stead are Giannelli, Frankie Verde and Tom Wheaton.
The first half was very back and forth with the two schools trading goals in the first quarter before Nazareth went on a three-goal run to gain a 5-3 advantage in the second. Back-to-back goals by Ryan Murphy hit the reset button on the game going into the half tied at six apiece.
After Murphy scored with 32 seconds to play and brought the Pride within one, the onus fell on the defense to get the ball back and they came through with a caused turnover to give Springfield one shot to tie it before the half. After a timeout with 16 seconds to play, Springfield knotted the game when Kevin Freeman found Murphy on the doorstep with five seconds left to knot the game at six.
“We knew we had to keep fight so we did, we just came up a bit short,” said junior attackman Ryon Lynch. “In games like this we’re still a young team and we need to learn that by fighting and fighting and fighting we can’t give up. Not that we gave up, but we need to work harder and harder.”
Lynch joins Murphy and sophomore Dylan Sheehan to form one of the country’s best attack units. The three combined to score eight goals with seven assists on the day with Lynch’s three-goal, four-assist performance leading the way.
In the end the experience and composure of Nazareth came through and the Golden Flyers made the final run to score an impressive road win over a Springfield team still growing into themselves.
“I don’t mind losing but I thought we lost some composure at the end,” Bugbee said. “And I understand it’s frustrating and it’s not easy but you have to keep your head together. I thought they kept their composure a little bit better than we did down the end.”
Springfield will get a week off before their next game when they face Stevens at home next Saturday. The Pride fell to the Ducks in the first round of the NCAA tournament last season.