Springfield, Mass. – April 23, 2014 - The Springfield College men’s lacrosse team received scoring from 12 different players and played stout defense as the Pride defeated Clark University, 22-7, on a cool Wednesday evening at Stagg Field.
With the win, the Pride improve to 11-3 overall, and remain a perfect 5-0 in New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) play, while Clark falls to 7-6, and 2-3 in conference play.
Springfield goalkeeper Connor Nash (Burnt Hills, N.Y.) picked up eight stops and the victory, while Rob Maher (Katonah, N.Y.) tallied a pair of saves. For the Cougars, Kevin Ranta (Beverly, Mass.) stopped 10 out of the Pride’s 32 shots on goal.
Senior Branden Fernandez (Warwick, N.Y.) paced the Pride, going 12-for-20 from the faceoff “x”, while junior Mark Gonzalez (Tolland, Conn.) went 8-for-12 on the evening.
Just one minute into the contest, sophomore midfielder Brendan Boss (West Springfield, Mass.) split down the right alley and buried a shot on the run to give the Pride an early 1-0 advantage.
Boss’s goal sparked a flurry of strikes from the Pride to give the hosts a 7-0 lead in the early goings. With the ball behind the net, senior attackman Ryon Lynch (Frederick, Md.) found classmate Kevin Freeman (Minisink, N.Y.) on the crease for an easy inside finish, putting up the Pride 2-0.
Posting three assists in Wednesday nights contest, Lynch now leads the team with 37 assists. Coming into the match-up with Clark, the Physical Education major was ranked 16th in the nation with 2.62 assists per contest.
Just minutes later, senior Matt Fleisher (Ramapo, N.J.) collected a pass from Devin Abad (East Longmeadow, Mass.) and fired a shot from 12-yards out that found the back of the net, which forced a timeout from the Clark sideline.
Coming out of the break, Fleisher netted a chance provided by Ryan Murphy (Mansfield, Mass.) to push the Pride’s lead to four. Following a string of goals from Lynch, Murphy and Freeman, the Pride found itself up 7-0.
With a two-man advantage, Clark attackman Nick Johnson (Amherst, Mass.) came around the cage and finished a shot past Nash to break the scoring drought from the Cougars, cutting the deficit to six.
With just a few minutes remaining in the first quarter, a Clark turnover sent Colby Verge (Derry, N.H.) pushing transition the other way only to find sophomore Jake Versprille (Franklin, Mass.) for his first-career goal to give the Pride an 8-1 lead.
After a Matt Sullivan (Brunswick, Maine) goal to cut the Cougars deficit to six, Bryce Serriello (Cape Cod, Mass.) found the back of the net to put the Pride up 9-2, followed by another goal from Fleisher to give Springfield a 10-2 edge going into halftime.
After Lynch’s second goal of the game to open the second half, Johnson and Ryan Moore (West Hartford, Conn.) scored back-to-back strikes, only to be erased by goals from Boss and Lynch to make it 13-4, Pride, midway through the third quarter.
With just 54 seconds left in the third stanza, Murphy tacked on another highlight-reel goal with one hand to push the Pride’s lead to nine, only to have Fernandez score his first goal of the season to make it 15-4.
Wrapping up the game, Boss poured in two more goals, while seniors Dom Roberto (Malden, Mass.) and Tim Lockrow (Rensellaer, N.Y.) each tallied one marker. Junior midfielder Alex Laurenza (Ballston Spa, N.Y.) and Scott Rogers (Acton, Mass.) also pumped in goals in the final minutes of the game, closing out the 22-7 victory.
The Pride will travel to Babson College on Saturday to take on the Beavers in a game that will determine the NEWMAC’s regular-season championship. The game is set to begin at 1 p.m.