By Hayden Choate
The Springfield College women’s lacrosse team looks to pick up right where it left off last season after capturing their seventh NEWMAC championship and their first since 2016.
The team went 13-7 in the regular season last year and 6-2 in conference play. They went on a seven-game losing streak in March of last year before winning 10 straight including the NEWMAC title game over Babson.
The Pride graduated eight seniors from last year’s team that lost in the second round of the NCAA tournament to Franklin & Marshall. This year’s team only features four seniors but 11 juniors on the roster.
Head Coach Kristen Mullady enters her 11th season with the team leading the team to their third NCAA tournament appearance in the last four years. Mullady, who graduated in 2000 from Springfield College, is ranked ninth on the program’s all-time career points list..
One of the team’s biggest goals for the year is coming together as a team to try to defend their NEWMAC title from a year ago.
“Contribution from everyone, whether on the field or the sideline, to bring success in order to win games and build team chemistry,” Gabby Fogg said.
Fogg, a junior midfielder, is one of the three captains on this year’s team. Senior defender Maria Antintellis and goalkeeper Brenna Keefe are the other captains.
“I expect our team chemistry to just keep growing. As our team chemistry grows our success will follow,” sophomore Anjelia Altebrando said.
With only four seniors, the team also brought in eight first-years that will add depth to the roster that was ranked no. 1 in the NEWMAC preseason rankings. The team is bringing a one-game-at-a-time mentality into the new season.
“Keep working towards our ultimate goal of the NEWMAC title taking it game by game, making sure we are disciplined and executing playing together to be successful,” Fogg said.
Players to watch
Offensively, the team returns Kate Sarnacki at attack who broke Springfield College record for most points in 2019 with 92, surpassing the previous record of 87.
Along with Sarnacki, Taylor Pichel returns for her junior year after a strong sophomore campaign. She was named the 2019 NEWMAC Championship Most Outstanding Player after scoring four goals in the title game.
Fogg, who can help the Pride offensively scoring 34 points last season but also on the defensive side of the field causing 20 turnovers and picking up 37 ground balls last season.
Sophomore midfielder Katie Martel will also add to the offensive production this year after posting 48 points last year including the game-winning goal in overtime against MIT in the NEWMAC Semifinals.
Atlebrando will help the attack posting 21 points in her first year and looks to build on that in 2020.
“We have to take it one game at a time and work on perfecting the little things, we have to keep communicating and working together keeping in mind our goal of NEWMAC champs,” Altebrando said.
One of the four seniors on the team is goalkeeper Brenna Keefe. Keefe made 131 saves last season and has started every game since her sophomore year.
On the back end, Katie Campbell looks to shut down opponents and add offensive to an already powerful attack. Campbell had 28 points last season helping the Pride stay in games and win the NEWMAC title.
Senior captain Maria Antonellis will also bring experience and leadership to the defensive side of the field.
The season begins for the Pride on Feb. 22 at home against Framingham State on Stagg Field, where Springfield went 8-0 last year.
Springfield will then play Endicott at home on Feb. 26 and then travel across town to Western New England University on Feb. 29 before beginning a stretch of tough out of conference play. That stretch of opponents includes Amherst (Mar. 4), Middlebury (Mar. 8) and at Stevens (Mar. 17).
That stretch of games last season did not go well for the team but that seven-game losing streak was a learning experience.
Although, the 10-game win streak the Pride went on last year led them to a NEWMAC championship the team wants to make sure they don’t have another losing skid like last March.
“Pushing through the middle of the season,” Fogg said. “We lost all our games in the middle of the season last year. This year we want to be able push through the tough games and keep our foot on the gas all season.”
Springfield will then open NEWMAC play at home against MIT on April 21 and Babson on April 28, the two teams they beat en route to their championship last season.
Both teams will definitely be looking for revenge in the new season especially after Springfield was ranked No. 1 in the preseason rankings.
“Along with teams out to beat the first ranked preseason team I think the middle of our season will be the hardest part of our schedule as it was last year, we need to stay strong mentally as well physically in order to push through to the postseason,” Altebrando said.
Featured photo courtesy of Sam Leventhal