Over the last six years there are certain events you can set in stone on your calenders. New Student Orientation begins the Friday before Labor Day, Tax Day is April 17, and on the first weekend of May the Springfield College men’s lacrosse team will win the Pilgrim League.
The Pride extended their streak of conference titles to six on Saturday with a 14-3 blowout win over Babson in a rematch of one of the best games of the regular season. Kevin Freeman led the way with five goals while freshman Tony Laguerre scored a hat trick for Springfield.
“I think last week we came in kind of riding on what our seniors did last year, they beat them so we’ll beat them,” Freeman said. “Today we came out and said ‘we’re not going to let them play with us’ and played 60 minutes of Springfield lacrosse.”
Babson actually came out quick with the first goal of the game, a Scott Doten goal at the 8:32 mark, but from there on out it was all Springfield. Ryon Lynch scored his first of the day to bring it back to even before giving the reins to Freeman and Laguerre for the next three tallies.
The Pride went on separate scoring runs of five-goals twice during the game including a backbreaking run between the second and third quarters that featured Lynch’s second goal. Springfield was down two men due to penalties, but a stout defensive play led to a fastbreak and ended with Lynch finishing a feed from senior long-stick midfielder Mike Donahue.
“I think our energy level was awesome,” Springfield coach Keith Bugbee said. “We made our own situations, we created a lot of our own good stuff. Even when we made a mistake nobody was hanging their heads. I told them that whenever we play really well, we get a lot of second effort situations.
“I was really proud of them. That was probably the best game we’ve played all year.”
Springfield finishes play in the Pilgrim League with an unbeaten mark of 7-0 and will now head to the NCAA Tournament. The Pride faced several teams that will be in the tournament and Bugbee wouldn’t be surprised if they saw one of the many tournament quality opponents they faced during the regular season.
All seven of the Pride’s losses this season came to teams either ranked in the top 20 of the USILA poll or a team at the top of their respective conference. After going through a rough patch of tough games in the middle of the season, getting into the tournament is a relief to many of the players.
“Its a nice weight off the shoulders and this year was a little tougher than other years to get to the NCAA’s,” Freeman said. “Before the game everyone was a little nervous, [thinking] ‘what if?’ but it feels good to get that off and go back [to the tournament].”
“This is the youngest team I’ve had in a long time and I’m just really proud of how they’ve matured this season,” Bugbee said. “I’d like to think that a lot of those games early in the season would have gone differently with this team now. But that’s why we played them and that’s how you get better.”
Springfield will find out who their opponent is on Sunday night and will likely open up NCAA Tournament play on Wednesday.