By Evan Wheaton
As No. 4 Springfield College hosted No. 2 Wheaton, the latter weren’t the only ones dawning blue at Stagg Field.
Today’s game was played in honor of Kristina Krull, who played lacrosse at Springfield College and graduated in 2016. Krull died by suicide last summer, and the blue T-shirts that were on sale raised money for mental health awareness.
The players and coaching staff were joined by the field hockey team and the Krull family as the ceremony began.
“Today, we are playing because mental health matters,” Springfield head coach Kristen Mullady said. “…Kristina will be remembered as selfless and humble beyond words.”
After the powerful speech by Mullady, Krull’s sister was given a memory box in her honor, and a moment of silence followed. The passion for Krull could be felt through the Pride’s play, as they routed Wheaton 18-4. The Pride opened up with back to back goals by Kate Sarnacki. Wheaton also had a pair of back to back goals, prompting a Springfield timeout.
“We talked about how they have such a strong, high-pressure defense and we reminded them that we need to stay a little bit bigger on attack so that we can get some more touches on the ball and then spread them out a bit so we can run their legs a little bit more than we were, so that was gonna prevent us from the turnovers we were having,” Mullady said.
After the timeout, the Pride piled on 10 goals while shutting out the Lyons for the remainder of the half. Wheaton wouldn’t find the net again until there was less than seven minutes left in the game.
“We went out there with 110 percent and played with grit until the last second of the game, because that’s what she did,” senior Katie Stallone said. “She always played with heart and a great attitude, so I think today we wanted to go out there and play for her, and how she played and represent her on the field.”
Defensively, the Pride held the Lyons’ top scorers down. Both teams had a high amount of turnovers, although Springfield capitalized on them often.
“Honestly, everybody came together and played together today,” Mullady said. “We’ve been working a lot on switching in and out on different types of defenses and we were able to transition better than we typically did, and shutting down their top players was key today also.”
Kate Sarnacki had four goals and five assists, while Taylor Pichel totaled three goals and one assist. Eight different players saw the net and the Pride moved the ball well while on attack.
“Working together is our biggest part of our game, we can’t do it without each other,” Pichel said. “We play like it’s 0-0 every game, we keep fighting as hard as possible and we don’t let the score affect how we play.”
With the victory, the Pride have improved their overall record to 7-6 and their conference record to 3-2.
The Pride played for more than each other today, and they were reminded of the importance of checking in on friends. To the seniors on the team that played with her in the past, Krull was more than just a teammate.
“She taught me a lot of lessons on the field, that extra edge, and in the classroom,” Stallone said. “She was really smart and I always looked up to her, having good grades and taking advantage of every second on the field.”
The Pride will host Mount Holyoke on April 17 at 4pm.
If you or someone you know is struggling, there are resources to help:
Springfield College Counseling Center: (413) 748-3345
Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
For more information on suicide prevention, visit www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org.
Photo courtesy Sam Leventhal