By Lucas Van Deventer
Last season, six student-athletes were honored on the Springfield College women’s lacrosse team for their impressive season, earning NEWMAC (New England Women’s and Men’s All-Conference) All-Conference honors. It marked the fifth-consecutive season that the Pride has earned this accomplishment. In addition, goalkeeper, Brenna Keefe, led the NEWMAC with goals saved with an average of 7.66. Keefe and current senior midfielder, Amanda Nusbaum, will hope to light the fire for the Pride this season.
Four of the six student-athletes honored for All-Conference were seniors and are no longer on the team. The Pride will look to start fresh and build up their team with new members and the reliable player for the team in Nusbaum.
“We are just putting people in different spots to see what works and the people who played last year who will again play this year, are helping the newer people and getting them ready for seasons to come,” said Nusbaum.
It’s a growing year for the team, but that doesn’t mean it is a negative thing. In fact, this team is finding that giving newer players the chance to see the field will help incorporate the standard necessary for the team to be successful this season. The improvement will come when the whole team is starting from the beginning again. They have the right group of people to get the job done, now they have to see where they can get better with the new players getting a lot more time.
Last season, Springfield got to see how they can be successful through the seniors of the group. In contrast, this season is about the underclassmen taking those learning experiences and assuming a larger role.
“This year is taking who we had from last year and incorporating new people into spots where we need them,” said Nusbaum.
Player to Watch
Last season, Nusbaum put up 32 points with 28 goals and four assists. She was contributing for the team with her offensive and defensive skill set. She had 12 draw controls and 38 ground balls, causing 19 turnovers as well.
Her personal goal this season is to continue hustling offensively and defensively being at midfield. She will help to make the newcomers feel more comfortable and motivate them to perform.
“Personally, I want to stay present at attack as well as defense being at midfield. I also want to help the newer people get acclimated and fill those positions for the team,” Nusbaum said.
Those people who have to fill those positions need to enter the season with the expectation of tough competition. Nusbaum and Keefe, who made big contributions to the team last season, should not disappoint in getting the newer members feeling comfortable to compete every game. In order for Nusbaum to ensure she can accomplish her goals this season is to remain using her teammates as a support system and working off of that.
“I think working off my teammates, coaches, watching film, keeping that high intensity, and just knowing my goals will be reached when the team goals are reached,” said Nusbaum. She knows that it takes all of the support she can get to make a mark where she can. It’s important that the whole team top to bottom is in for the same team goals.
The team looks to be in the right position headed into the season. They will continue to have pressure in the back as well as attack for the offense.
“We all are just super intense, we know what we need to get done, and we know you practice how you play and that’s how we go through things in the long run,” said Nusbaum. Head coach Kristen Mullady puts the intensity in practices to give people the chance to always go out playing at their fullest potential.
“Mullady puts together really intense practices, we go from one thing to another with not a lot of time in between which is good. It helps you keep focus,” said Nusbaum.
These practices should translate into the games coming up for the spring season. The Pride will have to put their best foot forward and progress through a learning experience. They will be successful when they can take the time to assess what needs to be fixed throughout the season.
Coming up is Springfield’s first game and home opener on Saturday February 23. The Pride face Western New England at 3:30pm. The first game of the season will look to be a spark leading Springfield to a successful season.
Photo courtesy of Springfield College Athletics