By Kevin Saxe
On Wednesday night under the lights at Stagg Field, the Springfield College women’s lacrosse team fell to the ninth ranked team in the country and 2019 national quarterfinalist Amherst College by the score of 16-1.
From the get-go it was all Amherst as the scoring barrage began 1:43 into the game with junior Claire Dunbar beating Pride senior goalie Brenna Keefe. Dunbar doubled the lead a mere 30 seconds later on a free position goal for her second goal of the game. The leader of the Mammoths offense was junior midfielder Maia Noyes. Noyes got on the board after receiving a pass from Isabelle Sennett before she set up teammate Becky Kendall with a gorgeous pass for an easy finish.
After trailing 4-0, the Pride responded thanks to junior midfielder Gabby Fogg. Just over seven minutes into the first half, Fogg cut in near the crease and fired a shot passed Amherst goalie Talia Land to put the Pride on the board. Fogg also scooped up three ground balls to lead the Pride, while also securing two draw controls.
However, the goal by Fogg would be the only sign of life for the Pride offense who was outshot 31-12, including 26-7 in shots on goal. Meanwhile the Mammoths dominated on draw controls, winning 13 compared to the five won by the Pride.
After the Pride goal, the Mammoth’s responded in a big way by scoring eight goals over the next 7:30 of game time. Kendall had two goals in this stretch to finish with three on the day, and she was also aided by teammate Hannah Gustafson who scored all three of her points in this stretch with two goals and an assist.
The Pride defense tightened up just a bit in the later stages of the first half as following Leah Ritterband’s goal to make it 12-1, the Pride held them scoreless for the remaining 13:24 of the first half. This was in part due to senior goalie Keefe who made ten saves in the game including four in the first half.
Over the next fifteen minutes the Mammoths had a number of quality looks but they would be turned away by Keefe who finished with six saves in the second half.
Although it can be tough to find positives in a 16-1 loss, the defense for the Pride held one of the premier teams in the country to just four goals in the final 46:24 of game action. Also, the Pride played a number of their underclassmen, exposing them to what it’s like playing against some of the best competition.
Although Keefe’s numbers won’t look great with 16 goals allowed and ten saves she made a number of nice saves even when the game was out of reach. Especially in the second half when Keefe made a couple of point blank saves, it showed that there was no quit in the senior leader and one who’s going to be a key piece if the Pride want to win the NEWMAC.
Meanwhile the games don’t get any easier for the Pride as they will face-off with the No. 1 team in the country, Middlebury, who also is the defending national champion. That game is set for Sunday at 1:00 at Stagg Field.
Photo courtesy of Evan Wheaton