After defeating Stevens Tech this past Saturday, 14-10, the Springfield College men’s lacrosse team has kicked off the 2014 season with a 3-0 record. This is the team’s best start as a Division III program, and the best start since 1995, a season in which the Pride made a trip to the national championship.
Also to note, Springfield’s offense has scored 45 goals on 99 shots, a 45.5 shooting percentage, ranking No.1 amongst all Division III teams.
“This is the kind of year where it will be so important to be successful right now,” commented coach Keith Bugbee. “We have one of the toughest non-conference schedules in the country, which allows us to have the opportunity to steal some valuable wins which will in turn, be beneficial come the end of the season. We are setting ourselves up now to be where we want to be, come season’s end.”
The Pride started the season with a 20-9 victory over the Fighting Scots of Gordon College, a win that saw 13 different players with at least one point in the contest. Senior attackmen Ryon Lynch and Ryan Murphy led the way with five points apiece, with Murphy tallying three goals and two assists, while Lynch added five assists in the victory.
Following the season-opening win, the Pride then traveled up to the 10th-ranked Nazareth College Golden Flyers. With a stellar performance from senior goalkeeper Connor Nash with 18 saves, the Pride withstood some late pressure from the Golden Flyers to squeak out an 11-10 upset victory.
“I think we have a real team effort all over the field,” said Bugbee. “We have a lot of players that are involved. The scoring is coming from everywhere. Nothing makes me happier than when seniors play like seniors. From Nash to Matt Giannelli to Devin Abad, everyone is playing like seniors, which is what I love to see.”
Attempting to prove to the rest of the country that the win over Nazareth was not a fluke, the Pride hit the road again, this time migrating south to Hoboken, N.J. to take on the Stevens Tech Ducks.
Springfield has not seen a lot of success recently against the Ducks, for just one year ago the Pride fell at home, 16-8, amidst a 1-7 start to the 2013 season. The meeting prior was in the first round of the 2012 NCAA Tournament when the Pride fell to Stevens Tech, 13-12 in a heartbreaking overtime loss.
However, this time the Pride went into this game with much more experience than they did in 2013 and with a chip on their shoulder. Leading the way with three goals and two assists, junior attackman Dylan Sheehan was key for the Pride in a 14-10 victory over the Ducks, improving Springfield’s record to 3-0 on the season.
“It has been really good for the team to get off to such a great start,” said Sheehan. “We have been getting out of the gate and have been getting some good starts to our games, which have helped us in the long run. We still have a lot to improve on, but we are definitely heading in the right direction.”
Sheehan, who tore his ACL just one year ago, has gone through intense rehabilitation in order to ready himself for the season. Tied with Lynch at the top of the leaderboard for the Pride, the junior from Massapequa, N.Y. has tallied 11 points this season, including seven goals and four assists.
“It’s pretty awesome to be back on the field with my team,” added Sheehan. “It is definitely not easy to be on the sideline watching your teammates play. Overall, we are playing well as an offensive unit and we are finding a lot of success. It’s good to be back on the field.”
Junior midfielder Bryce Serriello posted four goals, including back-to-back goals after the Ducks tied the game at 10 goals apiece, providing the necessary momentum that allowed for the Pride to extend their lead to 14-10 and capture the victory over Stevens Tech.
The schedule will not get easier for the Pride, as they welcome cross-town rival Western New England University to Stagg Field on Saturday. In dire need of a victory, the Golden Bears have started the season off 0-2, including a 12-10 loss to Keene State and a 14-5 loss to No. 3 Stevenson University. The game will get underway at 12 p.m.