As the buzzer on Stagg Field rang out – signaling that the game had ended – the Springfield College women’s lacrosse team stormed the field in celebration, circling around junior goalkeeper Haley Moody. Her late game protection helped send Coast Guard Academy home early in the semifinal round of the NEWMAC tournament, as the Pride won 13-10 on Wednesday.
In the final minute of the fourth quarter, Springfield held on to a 12-10 lead. With the Pride being down a player – as midfielder Maddy Roy got herself a yellow card for cross-checking – Coast Guard looked to capitalize. They moved the ball around the perimeter, waiting for the perfect opportunity to arise. But when the Bears finally attempted a shot, Moody didn’t back down.
Instead, she stepped right in front of a missile of a shot, nabbing it before there was any chance of it going into the net. On the following possession, attacker Taylor Pichel put the final nail in the coffin, scoring an unassisted goal with just 0:28 left to play.
Springfield credits its victory to the great leadership shown over the course of the game.
“I think leadership in general led to the win – we have lapses and then we have people picking us up,” head coach Kristen Mullady said. “I think overall, regardless of being a freshman or senior, this team as a whole has really strong leadership. They’re talking a lot together as opposed to us having to tell them everything.”
“We worked as a team – I think people stepped up and when we were at a low point, we had our younger kids stepping up and almost fighting through,” midfielder Katie Martel added. “It was just a whole team effort today.”
In the games opening quarter, the tone of the game was set: it was going to be a physical, defensive battle.
Coast Guard attack/midfielder Gianna Cascio broke the stalemate with 11:02 left to go, but Springfield had an answer. Just a minute later, attacker Arielle Johnson found cutting attacker Taylor Pichel to put the Pride on the board. They scored two more goals by quarter’s end, one of which was Martel’s 100th career collegiate goal, giving them a 3-1 lead going into the second.
Even though scoring 100 goals is no easy task, especially during a pandemic in which she lost an entire season, Martel humbly does not take all of the credit.
“Honestly, it’s crazy that during a pandemic I scored 100 goals. I have to thank my team for that,” Martel said. “They’re the ones passing the ball, they’re the ones doing the work – so it’s not just my 100th goal, it’s their 100th goal, basically.”
In the second quarter, Springfield coasted on the momentum they had built in the first, scoring three more unanswered goals – another one from Martel, and two more from Pichel. The Bears responded with two goals of their own before quarter’s end, going into the half down three.
The third quarter began as a back and forth affair, with each team scoring three goals. That was until Coast Guard ended the streak by scoring three goals in a row – two of which came in the final minute.
“We weren’t burning cutters,” Mullady said in reference to how the quarter ended. “They are dictating what they want to do. We just made a couple adjustments, and then we were putting on cutters.”
The adjustments clearly worked, as just a minute after the fourth quarter began, Martel took matters into her own hands, and drove through the entire Coast Guard defense, unleashing a bullet that found the back of the net.
“We needed to have urgency and get a quick [goal] to reverse the momentum back into ours. We dipped down and we need to get it back. So I just went for it. I was like, ‘this is the moment you gotta go for the goal.’”
A couple more Springfield stops and scores sealed the game, sending the team back to the NEWMAC Championship for the second straight season, Because the Pride got the top seed in the conference tournament, the championship game will be played at home Saturday, May 7, on Stagg Field.
Also for the second straight season, the championship will be against Babson College, who defeated Springfield 22-4 in last season’s conference finale.
With the game being at home, the Pride are looking for the perfect sendoff to end the season.
“I can’t ask for anything else,” Martel said. “Finally, we’re having everything our way. Just got to win on Saturday.”
Photo: Joe Arruda/The Student