It was a beautiful Saturday spring day at Springfield College. The sun was shining bright as the Pride’s women’s lacrosse team bit its nails down the stretch against conference rival, Wheaton College. After a timeout by the Lyons with 2:30 remaining in the game, Angela Mallis of Wheaton snuck one past Springfield goalie Gabriella Anderson to give the Pride a scare and make the game 9-8.
However, despite a few late turnovers by Springfield, the buzzer sounded and the Lyons hung their heads as the Pride stormed Stagg Field in celebration of its biggest win of the season.
“We worked really hard to get this win and we did a great job of sticking to the game plan,” said Springfield head coach Kristen Mullady.
After a historic start to the season, the Pride knew that if it won this game against Wheaton, it would control its own destiny for the top seed in the NEWMAC tournament. Both teams came into the game undefeated in the conference with a desire to win like it was the National Championship.
A strong start for the Pride was crucial. The team jumped out to an early 3-1 lead thanks to three goals in the first 15 minutes from graduate student Kerstin Lindrooth, who finished with four goals and two assists to lead Springfield to victory.
“We knew we had to come out strong and push the ball into the back of the net, which we did,” said Lindrooth.
Despite the strong start, the game went into halftime all knotted up at four goals apiece. They say, for every war there is a turning point. Halftime was that turning point for the Pride. Springfield came out of the locker room firing, as it scored two quick goals to make the score 6-4.
“I told them that they had 30 minutes left to play,” said Mullady. “We knew that early goals would give us momentum for the rest of the half and by scoring those goals we were able to show them who was the better team.”
The defense for the Pride was also phenomenal. Some thought that an offensive powerhouse in Wheaton would outplay the Pride defenders, but the Lyons were shut down. The defensive dominance was led by Anderson who leads the NEWMAC with just 62 goals against. The sophomore made numerous saves from point-blank range and had another outstanding game. Along with game-changing play, Anderson communicated and demonstrated great leadership as well.
Lindrooth said, “Gabby [Anderson] was huge. She was talking to us the whole time and she really supported us.”
If the Pride are able to win the rest of its games, it will host the NEWMAC Tournament as the number-one seed. Hosting the conference has proven to be crucial as Wheaton took the title last year on its home field.
Springfield will have a lot of confidence during the remainder of the season as it has been ranked third in the nation defensively and 20th in the nation overall. Up next for the Pride is Babson College on Saturday at 1 p.m. on Stagg Field. Lindrooth and company will look to lock up another win and improve their chances of claiming the number-one seed.