By Evan Wheaton
After three close quarters, the Springfield College men’s lacrosse team fell behind in the fourth as they hosted Stevens, who are ranked no. 10. With a final of 16-7, The Pride now sit at 1-1 for their 2019 campaign.
“They’re a really good tea, you know?” said head coach Keith Bugbee. “It’s always a really good game, most games are tighter than this, we just didn’t play that well today. We hit some challenges, some momentum swings, we had some opportunities, hit some pipes, things just didn’t really go our way in terms of stopping momentum. We had some chances to really turn the game over a little bit and it just didn’t go that well. We were a little antsy, shot the ball too quick, we got too overanxious. We were just inconsistent today. We had some good plays and we had some eh plays. We just need to be much more level, 60 minutes. We didn’t play 60 minutes today, we just had momentum issues.”
Springfield has a history of trouble with Stevens. The Pride lost both games last year against them, one being in overtime of the second round of the NCAA Division-III tournament. Heading into today’s match, the Pride had no significant changes in their game plan, just playing harder, longer.
“We just had to play 60 minutes,” said Bugbee. “Last year we lost two 1-goal games, one in the NCAA’s in overtime just because we turned the ball over a couple times. We didn’t play 60 minutes, we had turnovers late in the game and it cost us both those games so obviously we’re trying to play 60 minutes and we didn’t even come close today.”
Stevens beat Springfield in ground balls 41-29. Stevens also had more clears (22-24) as opposed to the Pride (14-20). Most notably, Stevens had a significant amount of shots over Springfield 54-35. Both teams had 15 turnovers, although Stevens capitalized more on man up opportunities.
“Face-offs were okay, wing play wasn’t great, they had a lot more shots, a lot more ground balls, I mean I think they just outworked us a little bit in certain areas,” said Bugbee. “They’re legitimately a top 10 team, but, we’re better than what we saw today. I think we have more in the tank than what we showed today.”
The fourth quarter was harsh for the Pride as they scored zero goals. Stevens put away six, two within a minute of each other. Despite the tough loss, strong competition this early in the season by a highly ranked team is good experience for the players to learn and grow off of.
“Saying play for 60 minutes sounds nice in itself, but it’s the way you play,” said Bugbee. “There’s a lot to be learned from this for sure.”
Photo courtesy Jack Margaros