By Hayden Choate
The Springfield College men’s lacrosse team won their first game since May 8th, 2019 with a 18-14 win over Nazareth Saturday on Stagg Field to kick off the 2022 season.
For the majority of Springfield’s roster it was their first collegiate win as the team has only played seven games the last two years — losing all of them.
“I’m just so happy for the guys,” Springfield head coach Keith Bugbee said. “The last two years have been brutal. Seven games in two years. We never got our culture going. We were missing everything. We’ve had such a good year, the fall was awesome. We’ve been practicing like this since September but you got to see what happens in a game and we did.”
Senior Zac Schuette scored eight goals in the game, two in each quarter. As a senior leader, he recognizes how important this win was to start off the season.
“Needed it, we really needed it,” Schuette said. “We’ve been working so long to get to this point and to get here was amazing. We needed that for sure.”
The game began as a back and forth scoring affair until graduate student and former Division I player Brett Randall gave Nazaerth a 4-2 lead in the first quarter.
Graduate student Patrick Watson gave Springfield a 7-6 lead in the second quarter, their first lead of the day.
It was senior Kyle McEinry’s third quarter goal that was the final lead change of the game giving Springfield a 13-12 lead over the Golden Flyers with 1:03 remaining in the third.
Nazareth was in full attack mode to start the fourth quarter, operating on the offensive side of the field for almost three minutes before Springfield could get a successful clear across the field.
“Yeah we kind of had to just ride the storm out a little bit there in the fourth quarter,” Bugbee said. “They definitely got some shots off. We played a lot of zone today trying to take away a couple of their really good players.”
Springfield’s defense stood tall in the fourth quarter allowing only two goals. Sophomore Jack Hamilton had 10 saves.
Once Springfield finally made the clear junior Riley Burgmyer found the back of the net giving the Pride it’s biggest lead yet and making it 15-12.
Schuette’s two fourth quarter goals came right after Burgmyer and the momentum had fully swung in the Pride’s favor.
“It felt great, my teammates found me in the right spot and I was fortunate enough to bury it,” Schuette said.
Schuette thought the offense and the defense worked together in getting the Pride three straight goals after the lengthy Nazareth possession in the fourth.
“I thought we were really composed when we needed to be,” Schuette said. “We made plays when we needed to, our defense stood on their head — shoutout to Jack Hamilton — made some key saves down the stretch, our other captains Tommy Briscoe and Connor Roberts made good stops for us so they really got us going when we needed it.”
In addition to not winning, Springfield had not scored more than 15 goals in a game since their last win. To score 18 goals in the first game was a good way to begin the season.
“We have a great group of guys out there. We’re finding each other. It could be anyone on any given day really,” Schuette said.
“Yeah, they took good care of the ball,” Bugbee said. “It felt like when we had the ball we were going to get a good shot, we didn’t force anything.”
Getting the win on Stagg Field for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began felt good but the team knows it is back to work as they hit the road next Saturday for a tough matchup against Stevens.
“We got 24 hours to celebrate then we’re back to it, we’ve got another game next weekend,” Schuette said. “It’s great for now but it’s only going to last so long we’ve got a long season.”
“It doesn’t get any easier,” Bugbee said. “Stevens Tech is better than this team and Union but it’s fine — we’ll be better too. which is a good thing.”
Photo: Springfield College Athletics