Babson Park, Mass. – April 26, 2014 - A seven-goal third quarter from the Springfield College men’s lacrosse program resulted in a 14-3 victory over Babson College on Saturday afternoon at MacDowell Field to clinch the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) regular-season title and home-field advantage for the upcoming conference tournament.
With the win, Springfield improves to 12-3 overall and has won the first NEWMAC regular-season title since the conference’s reinstatement of men’s lacrosse with an unblemished 6-0 record. With the loss, the Beavers fall to 10-6 overall, and 5-1 in conference play.
Senior goalkeeper Connor Nash (Burnt Hills, N.Y.) picked up his 10th victory of the season, stopping eight of Babson’s 11 shots on goal. Nash’s counterpart, Adam Daroff (Pepper Pike, Ohio) made nine stops and took the loss.
Branden Fernandez (Warwick, N.Y.) posted another impressive performance at the face-off “x”, going 13-for-17 and picking up 10 ground balls.
Just 3:08 into the contest, Ryon Lynch (Frederick, Md.) found Dylan Sheehan (Massapequa, N.Y.) in the crease for an easy finish past Daroff to give the Pride a 1-0 edge.
With a man-up opportunity following an illegal substitution infraction from the Pride, Alex Bunick (Millis, Mass.) found the back of the net to even the game at one apiece. Following suit, at the 5:58 mark of the first quarter, Spencer Lowe (Natick, Mass.) netted a behind-the-back shot past Nash to give Babson a 2-1 advantage.
With just 1:21 remaining in the first quarter, Sheehan found senior midfielder Matt Fleisher (Ramapo, N.J.) for a goal to even the game at two goals apiece.
To begin the second quarter, a goal from John Harrison (Pembroke, Mass.) lifted the Beavers to a 3-2 lead, only to have Bryce Serriello (Cape Cod, Mass.) net a shot on a nice roll-dodge and tally to even the game at three.
With just 5:35 left in the second frame, Lynch caught a ball in transition and shook his defender, finding Sheehan in the crease for the junior’s second goal of the game to put the Pride up 4-3.
After a shot that was blocked by the Springfield defense, Brendan Dooley (Setauket, N.Y.) picked up a loose ground ball and pushed transition the other way. After finding fellow defensive midfielder Colby Verge (Derry, N.H.) up top, Ryan Murphy (Mansfield, Mass.) was found alone on the crease for his 28th goal of the season to give the Pride a 5-3 lead heading into halftime.
To open the second half, Lynch caught a ball from Murphy behind the net and beat his defender to the cage for his 19th goal of the season to give the Pride a three-goal lead at the 10:11 mark of the third stanza. Just a few minutes later, sophomore Brendan Boss (West Springfield, Mass.) netted his 13th goal of the season through the five-hole of Daroff to give the Pride a 7-3 advantage. Lynch finished the day with a game-high seven points.
Just 53 seconds later, Serriello netted his team-leading 33rd goal of the season to push the Pride’s lead to five, only to have Murphy tack on his second goal of the game to bring the score to 9-3, advantage Pride.
At the 3:04 mark of the third stanza, Murphy pushed right on his defender and came back left with a swim move only to come around the cage to bury his third goal of the day and 30th goal of the season, giving Springfield a 10-3 lead.
Back-to-back goals in the waning minutes of the third quarter from Freeman and Lynch then gave the Pride a 12-3 lead, in which Springfield carried into the break.
A pair of goals from Serriello and Lynch in the fourth quarter iced the 14-3 victory for the Pride, who will enter the NEWMAC tournament as the No. 1 overall seed.
The Pride is set to host Clark University on Wednesday evening in the NEWMAC semifinals in a re-match of the April 23 victory over the Cougars. In that contest, the Pride won 22-7 behind a combined 12 different goal scorers.