With only three losses tainting their overall record, the Springfield College men’s lacrosse team has certainly created a reputation for themselves. With a heavy reliance on their senior players, the Pride have exemplified skillful experience and knowledge of the game.
This past Saturday afternoon, the men’s lacrosse team traveled to Babson College, where they captured a 14-3 victory over the Beavers, advancing them to an overall 12-3 record. The Pride’s flawless 6-0 conference record helped them seize the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference regular season title. This win also helped to boost their rating to No. 15 in the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association Coaches Poll.
“The biggest thing is keeping everyone on the same page. We’re really working hard on consistency.We obviously have some great players and they really pulled through for us,” said Springfield College men’s lacrosse coach, Keith Bugbee. “I thought Babson came out playing faster than us at first. It was their senior day; it was on their home field. They were playing for the win, but so were we. Once we focused on what needed to be done, our guys were able to score like we needed them to.”
A standout performance in goal by senior Connor Nash helped the Pride to keep their lead throughout the entire game. Stopping eight of Babson’s 11 shots, Nash was able to propel his team to a comfortable advantage very early into the game.
Keeping up with the high-percentage trend, face-off player Branden Fernandez posted an impressive 76 percent success rate at the “x.” With his swift stick skills, Fernandez won 13 of the 17 face-offs and picked up 10 ground balls.
Not faltering in his performance, senior attackman Ryan Murphy bounded onto the field with one thing on his mind: the win. As a high-risk, high-reward player, Murphy is expected to score. His smooth transitions and advanced skill level is a dangerous combination for opponents. Murphy scored his 28th goal of the season against the Beavers, and it is unlikely that that number will stay stagnant for long.
“I think that closeness within a team makes a huge impact on the game. If you have a group of kids that don’t like each other or don’t hang out off the field, they won’t play well,” said Murphy. “No one on our team is selfish; everyone wants to make the best play that [has the most] impact for the team.”
The senior leadership on this team serves as its core. The upperclassmen are dedicated to helping continue their legacy by passing on their team ethics and expectations to the younger players.
“The senior class has been playing a huge leadership role with helping the younger players learn the offensive and defensive systems. This has helped create leaders within the younger class that will develop those in their own classes and future classes coming in,” explained senior midfielder Matt Fleisher. “A lack of unity before the season starts will result in a lack of cohesiveness within the team. It’s sort of like a beehive.
Everybody has a job to do whether it is big or small and when everybody does their job, then everything comes together and good things happen.”
Fleisher erupted with a quintessential goal at the end of the first quarter. With a perfect feed from junior Dylan Sheehan, Fleisher streaked to the net to even the game at two goals apiece.
Continuing with the list of accomplishments, senior captain Ryon Lynch posted his 204th career point that Saturday afternoon. Tying with former Springfield player Paul Purdy for ninth place all-time, Lynch has made it into the record books for total career points, and it’s safe to say that he will be increasing that number as the Pride’s season continues.
“It’s a great feeling, just being able to contribute to the success of the team any way I can is gratifying. No matter if it is scoring points or being in the right spot on the field to help others be successful, any time I can contribute to the team’s success is a good feeling,” said Lynch.
Lynch’s success continues with his second honor of the season as NEWMAC Men’s Lacrosse Offensive Player of the Week. Averaging 2.62 assists per game, he is now ranked No. 16 in the nation and first in the NEWMAC.
“Playing in the tournament is very special and I have been lucky enough to be a part of it for three years, hopefully four years in a row. Being one of the last teams in the country still practicing and playing games is a good feeling, and being out in the nice weather, getting after it with my teammates is a lot of fun,” said Lynch. Most importantly, I am looking forward to our team continuing our success so that we can keep playing lacrosse for as long as we can.”
The Pride will continue their season on Stagg Field with a game against Clark on Wednesday, April 30 at 7 p.m. The NEWMAC Championship game will kick-off at home on Saturday, May 3. The time is still to be determined.