By Braedan Shea
On the best day that 2022 had to offer, the Springfield College women’s lacrosse team showed out — crushing Clark University in its 20-3 victory on Stagg Field.
From the opening draw, it was clear that Clark was outmatched. Senior attacker Taylor Pichel opened up the stalemate with 12:04 left to go in the first, coming off of a great pass from senior midfielder Holly Rivers. Following this goal, the floodgates opened for the Pride. Goals were coming left and right — highlighted by senior midfielder Katie Martel getting a hat-trick in just 2:18 of gametime. By the time the horn blared signaling the end of the first quarter, Springfield was already up 10-0.
The Pride picked up right where they left off in the second quarter, finding the back of the net six more times by quarter’s end. Clark, on the other hand, was yet again held scoreless — giving Springfield a 16-0 lead by the half.
In the past three games, Springfield has let up less than five goals in each; and in the past two they have held the opponent scoreless by halftime. The great defensive play has not only been holding back opposing teams, but has been also opening up more opportunities on the offensive side of things as well.
“They’ve just worked so hard — becoming like one big unit,” said Pichel. “Their communication has been amazing, and they’re just like a solid wall on it. This allows us to play our game on attacks. They’re just doing amazing.”
Head coach Kristen Mullady agrees, and finds that locking in on defense is improving everyone. “Everybody’s getting better, right? We’re able to put more goals at the back of the net quicker than we usually do. We are able to use our depth quicker than we usually do. So, that means everybody’s getting better.”
In the third quarter, Clark would finally put themselves on the board thanks to a tough shot by sophomore defender Claudia Oakleaf — breathing some life into the Cougars — but it was far too late. A few more Springfield goals would seal the game, with the Pride winning by 17.
The defense may have been the strongest point for Springfield, but the offense wasn’t far behind. Twelve different players scored one goal or more, including two players getting their first collegiate scores — first-year midfielder Isabella Mazzi, and sophomore attacker Isabella Cardaropoli. The goals not only show off the team’s great depth, but also some promise for the future.
“They’re happy,” said Mullady. “They deserve it. They’ve been working hard. It’s always good to see more people scoring and making good defensive plays.”
“That makes me feel amazing,” adds Pichel, who also led all scorers with four goals. “Honestly. We have such great depth on this team and as a senior who is not going to be back next year, it’s a great sign for what’s to come in our future.”
Pichel credits her success to the good chemistry that the team has built up to this point in the season.
“I think they’re just leaving some big gaps and we’re just working as a team to see those gaps. Then we’re just feeding. [Arielle Johnson] knows when I’m open, Katie Martel knows — we just know each other and that’s how we keep each other open. That’s how we score so much.”
Although the game may not have been a nail biter, there remain some good takeaways, with one of them being the confidence built through the variety of contributors getting playing time.
“I think the confidence is high. The more we’re able to get people on the field, the more their confidence goes up. When we get way more people in games against better opponents, they can get on the field and make an impact.”
The Pride will look to take this confidence into Saturday’s home game, April 16, against MIT on Stagg Field.
Photo: Springfield College Athletics