By Braedan Shea
Battling key injuries and terrible weather, the Springfield College women’s lacrosse team seemed unfazed by the cards stacked against them, taking down in-city rival Western New England University in a crushing 17-5 victory on Stagg Field.
Even with so many starters being out for the Pride, Springfield operated like a well-oiled machine. The defense was on point, even with sophomore Haley Moody, the starting goalkeeper, being out. Backups junior Emily McDermott and sophomore Colleen Browne filled in the absence extremely well.
The offense, who was missing its top three scorers, was still on point. Graduate and first-year midfielders Katie Campbell and Lilly Vey did most of the heavy lifting for the offense, both having career-high performances; Campbell having five goals and Vey chipping in four more.
“This is what we work for,” said head coach Kristen Mullady, in reference to playing well without key players. “We have a large roster, and we want everyone to get better. At the point that we needed everyone to be great, people really stepped up. It could have gone either way today, to be honest.”
The opening quarter was a back and forth affair, with both defenses shining. It took nearly five minutes for the first goal to be scored, WNE striking first when an unassisted shot from senior attack/midfielder Samantha Vitka found the back of the net. Springfield would eventually respond with two goals of their own with 6:37 and 4:59 left in the quarter, respectively. The two teams would each share one more goal apiece before the quarter’s end.
In the second quarter, the defense of the Pride really stepped up, allowing just one goal. It also served as the beginning of Campbell’s reign of terror, where she chipped in two more goals with 11:05 and 1:41 left to play, giving her a hat trick by halftime. First-year attack Lauren Ronai added a goal of herself with 9:12 left to go, set up perfectly by Junior attack Arielle Johnson. By time senior midfielder Holly Rivers’ last-second shot found the back of the net, Springfield found themselves with a 7-3 lead at the half.
The Pride came out firing in the third quarter, and it seemed as if WNE could do nothing but watch. In a span of just seven minutes, Springfield rattled off five quick goals. Among those who scored, Campbell found the back of the net twice more, giving her a new career-high of five. Even with her great performance, she humbly doesn’t want all the credit.
“It was a great feeling, and we just wanted to have an amazing game,” said Campbell. “I talked in practice yesterday saying that if you get in, know that you are there for a reason. You earned that, so have confidence going in. We all practice together, we have had a great season so far, and it wasn’t just me. A lot of people were thrown into a lot of different positions, and everyone stepped up as you can see, by what a great game it was. It was really a great team effort all the way down the field.”
Western New England would eventually stop the bleeding late in the third with two goals of its own to, but the same could not be said for the fourth. Springfield successfully iced the game by scoring five more unanswered goals and would stay that way by game’s end.
“It feels amazing,” said Campbell, on beating such a close rival. “Obviously we always talk about ‘winning the city’, and we beat AIC in the preseason, so we came into this game fired up. We tried to build momentum off the boys just winning, and it is a big rivalry – I would say it is our biggest non-NEWMAC rivalry – so we always want to win these games.”
Not only was it nice to get such a big win, but it was nice to do it in a familiar place. For the past three games, the Pride has found themselves on the road.
“It was great,” said Campbell. “We love playing on Stagg, we love practicing on Stagg, and it was a weird feeling. I was like ‘Wow, we haven’t been here for a while.’ We love to have fans here, and be on our field. We like the bus rides, they’re good team bonding experiences, but it’s better to be in our own locker room and winning on our own field.”
“We will play everyday at home if we can,” added Mullady. “Just to win at home and have a bunch of people that typically don’t get a ton of time step up and actually produce – is pretty impressive.”
The Pride will be back on the road Saturday, April 9, traveling to Emerson for a 4:00 NEWMAC matchup.