By Lucas Van Deventer
SPRINGFIELD — As the lights shined down on Stagg field, Springfield College women’s lacrosse shined with it. Springfield defeated Smith College, 14-7, in the NEWMAC quarterfinals on Tuesday.
The fans were there every step of the way on the home ground of the Pride as Springfield had the advantage to perform effectively throughout the game. The Pride started right out of the gate, scoring four goals in two minutes. Coming out with the energy first, led them to the win to head them into the semifinals of the NEWMAC tournament.
Springfield had all of the momentum early in the game giving them a hot start and only allowing Smith College one goal. Soon after, towards the middle of the first half, the teams were evenly distributing the ball as goals scored by the Pride slowly died down. Both teams showed their full aggression causing the Pride to give more. Head coach Kristen Mullady was emphasizing the adjustments that were needed to be made when the score reached three goals for Smith.
“We were winning the draws consistently at the beginning then Smith made some adjustments. We just had to take over on a few things and come back and play like we were playing at the beginning of the game,” Mullady said.
At the beginning, Springfield created a string of beautiful passes as the midfielder, Gabby Fogg claimed her territory storming down the field. That was when Angelia Altebrande caught eyes with her and flung the ball right to her. Fogg winded back and rocketed the sixth goal of the night. The connection that was found among the attackers, Katie Martel and Altebrande, was a spark to the Pride’s success in getting the win. Martel and Altebrande combined with six goals and four assists. They both followed the game plan to help contribute Springfield’s strong possession.
“We knew coming into the game, we just had to come ready to go and work together. It’s not a one person sport, it’s the whole team,” Martel said.
The pressure of Smith College was causing the game to be closer than what the Pride wanted. After halftime, the Pride knew they needed to keep the momentum and possess following the coach’s game plan.
“We went into the locker room talking about how they were giving a lot more pressure than we anticipated so it took us a little while to adjust to the pressure and after we took a timeout we were able to move the ball a little more quicker and take advantage of our opportunities,” Mullady said.
The Pride had to make the adjustment because of the constant pressure of the attack from the Smith Pioneers. The Pioneers were able to limit the fouls on Springfield and take opportunities to score. Smith managed to push the score to sixwhen the Pride still only had nine. Springfield had a 30 minute scoring slump that caused the Pioneers to ease their way back into the game losing all of the momentum from the Pride.
Short passes were smartly drawn out and finally were executed by Springfield in the second half near the 10 minute mark, right after Springfield’s timeout. The timeout successfully got the wheels turning again for the Pride hyping them up for more goals scored.
Both teams had their opportunities to score. The Pioneers had 15 chances and the Pride had 29. Springfield showed their dominance in the offense leading in shots, draw controls, and ground balls. The Pride pushed their way through with the opportunities of free position shots. The Pride had eight chances with five of those being scored.
Springfield were effective in being patient and trusting the game plan as the adjustments were made. The long possessions finally paid off for the Pride helping them keep the lead as well as adding to the score of nine which turned it to 14. In the final 10 minutes of the game, they were able to add five more goals pushing the Pioneers away from the win.
Springfield will prepare to find the energy again to push them farther into the tournament. The Pride continues to work on the intensity of their game and keep the momentum going. Martel is determined to go out competitively in every game, which is the plan for next game.
“We just have to come ready and we have to work on a couple things, but we are going to come fired up and we are on to the next,” Martel said.
Springfield will face MIT in the NEWMAC semifinals at 7pm Thursday, May 2.
Featured photo courtesy Sam Leventhal