Assistant Sports Editor
At first glance, there is nothing breathtaking about No. 40 in white. The Springfield College attackman stands at an even 6-foot tall and looks as though the stiff breeze that blows down the field might take him away.
Then the whistle blows.
Sophomore Ryon Lynch takes off towards a ground ball, getting himself between the ball and the bigger defender and gains possession. He then turns his attention to the fast break opportunity, pushing the net and finding fellow-sophomore Ryan Murphy for a shot on the doorstep.
Plays like this are the calling card of Lynch’s play style and are the result of an offseason of hard work.
“Working on the little stuff like dodging, shooting,” said Lynch. “You reach this level in high school where you think you’re all set, and then you come to college and you realize it’s a completely different game.”
His work on the little things has paid off. Through 10 games this season, the sophomore is the Pride’s leading point-getter with 11 goals and 20 assists for 31 points.
The “Lynch-sanity” began this season when the Fredrick, Md. native poured in a career-high eight points to fuel a 15-7 upset of Nazareth in the second game of the year.
“I thought that whole Nazareth game was cool,” remembers Lynch. “The whole game it was snowing sideways. When the ball was down on defense and I couldn’t even see the ball – and we were playing with a green ball.”
The color of the ball has not mattered as Lynch has continued to be a force on the offensive end of the field. Where his presence is most felt, however, is when the opposition is trying to clear the ball.
In lacrosse, defending a clear is known as “riding,” and Lynch does it better than anyone coach Keith Bugbee can remember having.
“Ryon rides really well and he never fouls,” says Bugbee. “That is part of our mantra. He and [Ryan] Murphy are just terrors when they ride. We get a lot of second opportunities because of their hard work.”
During Tuesday’s 9-6 win over Amherst, Lynch caused a pair of turnovers by the Amherst defensemen just by working hard and doing what he does best: the little things.
Coming from Maryland, Lynch grew up in a culture that lives and breathes lacrosse, so it is interesting that he would find his way to Springfield with all the quality schools in the mid-Atlantic. It was actually a suggestion by his parents that he look at the school.
“I was up here visiting Holy Cross [in Worcester]. I actually didn’t have any interest in Springfield, didn’t really know too much about it,” said Lynch. “My parents really pushed me to check it out because Phys. Ed.-wise, school-wise it would be a good fit.
“I emailed Coach Bugbee and he met with me on short notice and ever since that day I kind of knew I wanted to be here.”
As a freshman, Lynch was able to work his way into the lineup at times, scoring one goal with five assists in nine games. His improvement during the offseason gave Bugbee the ability to move senior Mike Delia back to midfield and slide Lynch in on attack. Delia has not strayed too far from the sophomore, however.
“Mike helped me out a lot last year, showed me some stuff that has really helped me out,” said Lynch. “Just the way the older guys take you aside to help you out has made getting better that much easier.”
With five regular season games left, Lynch and his fellow “Chief Dawgs” will be looking to capture another Pilgrim League title, but to do so they will need to keep doing the little things…with a little Lynch-sanity thrown in.
Jimmy Kelley may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org