By Garrett Cote
The Springfield College Pride played host to the Wheaton College Lions in a compelling, riveting 60 minutes of lacrosse. An alluring cloudless sky encircled Stagg field to turn out a delightful spring day on Saturday afternoon, where the Pride proved victorious 16-14 on Senior Day, as it celebrated the astounding and accomplished senior class of seven.
Pride senior Gabby Fogg made the most of her opportunities, slashing and weaving through the attacking zone several times to turn in a career day. The captain scorched the Lions defense, accounting for five key goals in the Pride victory, as well as winning a game high 10 draw controls.
The entertaining, back-and-forth first half saw seven ties, while two different Pride players recorded hat tricks – Fogg and first year Maddy Roy. Fogg and Roy’s sizable first half contributions held Springfield within two goals or less throughout the entirety of the first frame. Although the Pride put up nine goals and were tied at the end of one, 15 turnovers and several miscues defensively were the emphasis for Springfield College head coach Kristen Mullady heading into halftime.
“Wheaton provided an amount of pressure that we just haven’t seen in a long time,” Mullady said. “We had to make some adjustments on both the attacking and defensive end. I think once we took a couple of timeouts to settle down and regroup we responded much better to their pressure.”
A balanced Wheaton College offensive arsenal saw 8 different players find the back of the net, including sophomore Jessie Kilburn who was a matchup nightmare all day for Springfield, punching in five goals and adding an assist. The poised Lions charge was not quite enough, as first year goalkeeper Colleen Browne continued her strong start to her Springfield College career.
Buckling down in the second half and coming up with several clutch saves, Browne finished the contest with a total of 12 saves. Three of them came on important free position shots, with others coming on point blank attempts from the Lions. Browne and the Springfield defense held the Lions to only five second half goals, playing a significant role in the outcome of the game.
With a few starters not available to compete today, Mullady turned to her bench to produce for the Pride. She admitted the difficulties of not having the complete roster able to suit up, however she lauded that each player that saw the field today aided the team in a positive way.
“It’s tough not having everybody, especially during [the pandemic] because this group is so cohesive,” Mullady began. “The good thing about this group is that they always bounce back and respond to anything, and we have great depth on our sideline. They all have the ability to kind of just figure it out and make it work.”
Senior leader Kate Sarnacki, who kicked off her senior campaign with a seven goal performance two weeks ago, struggled to find many open opportunities. She landed just three shots on goal, as she was being face guarded and double teamed everytime she gained possession of the ball. This allowed for several different Pride to be incorporated into the offense.
Similar to the Pride’s first game against Babson, they continued to find great success in executing their cuts down the middle of the attacking zone. Sophomores Arielle Johnson and Lauren Landino, Sarnacki, and senior Taylor Pichel all had their heads on a swivel, notching slick assists to cutting teammates on many different occasions.
“We were extremely patient on attack,” started Fogg. “I always try to be that calm presence offensively, and I think we all just played really smart and executed our cuts and got the job done.”
Being recognized as a senior captain who has had great success provided a plethora of emotions for Fogg, considering how much she has accomplished on the field and grown as a person during her time on the lacrosse team.
“Today really culminates my whole experience as a student athlete here,” Fogg offered. “I have been wanting to be an example to my teammates since freshman year, so to be named captain my senior year and be recognized today it’s just kind of bittersweet how it has all come together.”
Arielle Johnson finished the game with one goal and four assists. Pichel had yet another strong game for the Pride, wrapping up this contest with four goals and two dimes. The aforementioned Maddy Roy threw in a second half goal to go along with her first half hat trick, giving her four on the day. Sarnacki tallied three points – a goal and two assists – while sophomore Ally Delmonte tacked on a goal and an assist of her own.
Considering the coronavirus pandemic has taken so many aspects away from sports, Mullady was grateful to have the opportunity to appreciate this senior class. Each senior was given flowers, and was able to connect with their parents and loved ones for a brief moment via FaceTime prior to the game.
“All I did was pray that we were going to be able to get this game in for our seniors. To be able to play another game during a pandemic and have the chance to recognize such a terrific group of seniors, we are all extremely grateful and we took in every second of it,” Mullady expressed.
The Pride look to continue this jolt of momentum they currently own when they meet with Emerson College next Saturday.
Photo courtesy of Jack Margaros