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NCAA Game Day Central: Men's Lacrosse To Square Off Against Mount Ida in NCAA Tournament

NCAA Game Day Central: Men's Lacrosse To Square Off Against Mount Ida in NCAA Tournament  Springfield, Mass. - May 5, 2008 - For the eighth time in the last 10 years, the Springfield College men’s lacrosse team will be playing in the NCAA Tournament. After capturing the Pilgrim Lacrosse League Championship by defeating Wheaton 12-7 on Saturday, the Springfield College men's lacrosse team (11-6) earned an automatic berth into the 2009 NCAA Division III Tournament.

The Pride has since been awarded a first round home game and will take on Mount Ida Wednesday (May 6) at Stagg Field at 7:00 pm.

Admission will be charged to the contest and ticket prices are as follows:
General Admission - $5
Students with an ID- $3
Children under 12 - $1

Mount Ida won their sixth consecutive North Atlantic Conference (NAC) championship by toppling Castleton State, 25-9, on Saturday afternoon. Mount Ida will head into the NCAA tournament for the third year in a row and stands at 13-6 on the year.

The two teams have a pair of common opponents. The Mustangs defeated Babson 8-7, while the Pride defeated Babson twice, 22-6 in the regular season and 24-4 in the Pilgrim League Tournament semifinals. Springfield and Mount Ida both lost to Amherst during the season, with the Mustangs falling 17-5 and the Pride dropping a 6-5 decision to the Lord Jeffs.

The Pride is making its eighth appearance in the NCAA Division III Championship in the past 10 years. Including when it competed in Division II, this game marks the 11th trip to the NCAA Tournament. Springfield was last in the NCAA Tournament last year when it advanced to the second round. The Pride hosted Kean University in the first game and cruised to a 17-2 win behind an incredible performance from Jake Beebe. Beebe, who notched five goals and five assists for 10 points in the contest, was one off the NCAA Division III Tournament record for points in a game. In its second round game, Springfield led 8-6 with 2:29 remaining in the third quarter, but couldn't hold on as the eventual national-runner up, Cortland Red Dragons, rallied to a 12-9 victory.

Springfield cruised through the Pilgrim League with an unblemished record of 7-0 in league play. In the regular season, the Pride’s non-conference schedule was littered with some of the top teams in the country. This season, the Pride took on then No. 11 Endicott, No. 14 Stevens Tech, No. 10 Middlebury, No. 13 Bowdoin, and No. 12 Western New England. Of the other 21 teams in this year’s NCAA Tournament, the Pride has already faced three of them in the regular season, with games against Middlebury, Nazareth, and WNEC.

The Pilgrim League Player of the Year, Jake Beebe (Sudbury, Mass.) has led the Pride on the offensive side of the ball this season with a team-best 70 points. Beebe has dished out a team-best 38 assists this year, to go along with 32 goals as he has started in all 17 games. To date, Beebe has recorded 236 points in his career off 118 goals and 118 assists. The senior duo of Pat Cavanaugh (Wayland, Mass.) and Kyle Gable (Somers, Conn.) has complemented Beebe on the Pride attack as they have combined to find the back of the cage 46 times this year to go along with 18 assists.

In the midfield, Jake Jones (Amherst, Mass.) and Mike Delia (Wading River, N.Y.) have been impact players this season. Jones has netted a 16 goals this season, and has totaled 24 points overall. A sniper in man-up opportunities, Jones leads the team with five extra-man goals this season, as the Pride had a man-up conversion rate of 39.6%. The Pilgrim League Rookie of the Year, Delia has splashed onto the Springfield lacrosse season in his first year. Delia has tallied 13 goals and 10 assists to go along with 36 ground balls, and with a great mix of speed and quickness, he has gone 45-77 (58%) on face-offs this season, including winning 20-of-27 (74%) over the last four games.

A rock-solid defense is anchored by five all-conference award winners. The close defense of Sam Burrell (Cumberland, Maine), Mike Smith (South Hadley, Mass.), and Cory Schwarzkopf (Mamaroneck, N.Y.) has been solid all season, and has really turned it on as of late. Burrell, a first-team all-league selection, is a physical defender who leads the team with 22 caused turnovers this season to go along with 35 ground balls. Smith, a first-team all-league selection as well, has posted 45 ground balls and 13 caused turnovers, while Schwarzkopf has added 17 ground balls and nine caused turnovers. This unit is a major factor why the Pride has allowed just 6.47 goals per game this season.

Longstick midfielder Pete Sessa (Newton, Mass.) earned all-conference honors after having a terrific year as he ranks second on the team with 52 ground balls and caused 12 turnovers in his junior year. Rarely coming off the field this season, Chris Jez (Somers, Conn.) has been the Pride's top defensive midfielder . A second-team all-conference pick, Jez has won 58% (130-22) of his face-offs, and leads the team in ground balls with 87 on the year. A tough athlete, Jez has recorded 11 points, including two man-up goals, to go along with nine caused turnovers.

Tom Albano (Ridgewood, N.J.) has had one of the greatest seasons statistically in Springfield history as he owns a goal against average of 6.63, including a 1.64 GAA in conference play. The senior netminder has 137 saves this season and has stepped up in several big games. A leader on the squad, Albano has an overall save percentage of .604 and a .863 save percentage in Pilgrim games.

Head Coach Keith Bugbee has been at the helm of the Pride for the past 26 seasons. During his tenure as head coach, Bugbee has guided the Pride to 22 post-season tournaments, including capturing the NCAA Division II National Championship in 1994. This season, Bugbee led the Pride to its eighth league title in the past 10 years. Since joining the Pilgrim Lacrosse League, Bugbee has guided Springfield to the Championship game all 10 years. In his 26 years on the sidelines for Springfield, he has accumulated an impressive record of 277-127, good for a .685 winning percentage.

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Keith Bugbee Keith Bugbee enters his 31st season as head men's lacrosse coach at Springfield College in 2014. Under his direction, the Pride is one of the top programs in the country. Bugbee's coaching record stands at an impressive 327-157 (.676 winning percentage). Read more.

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