Springfield, Mass. - March 8, 2014 - The Springfield College men's lacrosse team poured in five fourth-quarter goals to rally for a 9-7 victory over cross-town rival Western New England on Saturday afternoon in front of 1,500 fans at Stagg Field.
Continuing its best start as a Division III program, Springfield is now 4-0. WNE is in search of its first win and drops to 0-3. This marks the third-straight season that Springfield has been the victor over the Golden Bears in this cross-town showdown and the Pride were awarded with the US Lacrosse Western Massachusetts Chapter Trophy after the win.
After three road victories to begin the season, Springfield vaulted in the national spotlight this week, and is currently ranks 9th in the Lacrosse Magazine National Poll and 10th in the latest United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA) National Coaches Poll.
Ryan Murphy (Mansfield, Mass.) scored four goals, including the eventual game-winner, and added a helper, while Ryon Lynch (Frederick, Md.) and Tony LaGuerre (Shrub Oak, N.Y.) each registered two goals and an assist. Connor Nash (Burnt Hills, N.Y.) was once again solid between the pipes, recording 12 saves in the victory.
For Western New England, seven different players found the back of the cage. Goalie Brandon Body was sensational for the visiting Golden Bears, producing 19 saves in the loss.
In its home opener, Springfield scored the game’s first goal with 4:00 minutes to go in the first on a man-up strike by Lynch. Dylan Sheehan (Massapequa, N.Y.) delivered a terrific inside feed to a cutting Lynch, who potted a goal into the bottom corner of the cage. The Pride added to its lead just 2:14 into the second quarter on an unassisted marker from Murphy. The senior got free from behind the cage and jammed home a one-handed wrap around goal into the top corner to put the hosts up 2-0.
Western New England answered back with five-straight goals as it found its offensive rhythm and took control of the second quarter.
The run started at the 10:39 mark when Shawn Lawton took the ball on a restart and bullied his way to the cage for WNE’s first goal of the afternoon. Just 50 seconds later later, Lawton found Taylor Waybright along the crease, who finished in traffic to tie the game.
Mike Donohue gave the Golden Bears their first lead of the afternoon after he blistered a shot from 15 yards out with 6:28 remaining in the half, and WNE added to its lead as it took advantage of a pair of Springfield penalties for a man-up goal by Keegan Dudeck. WNE’s final goal of the first half came from Owen Caruso, who took a feed from Patrick Dillon in transition at the 1:59 mark.
Springfield came out of halftime with plenty of fire, netting two goals in a 16-second span. Murphy broke the Pride’s scoring drought 2:25 into the second half after a gorgeous roll dodge on the crease allowed him to finish low while being hit. Springfield added another just 16 seconds later as Dom Roberto (Malden, Mass.) picked up a ground ball and raced towards cage, finding Lynch on the doorstep, who stuck one home after a flurry of moves.
In the final seconds of the third quarter, Jack Liacos snagged a loose ball out of the air and fired in the visitors only goal with just one tenth of a second left in the stanza.
WNE carried that momentum into the fourth, with a Stephen Gair goal 1:08 into the quarter, to push its lead to 7-4. However, from that point on Springfield put forth a furious rally, scoring the final five goals of the game to rally for the win. The run started after a lengthy offensive series, as LaGuerre broke through for an assisted goal from Murphy at the 8:40 mark.
1:35 later, LaGuerre blistered a cross field pass to Matt Fleisher (Franklin Lakes, N.J.), who stung the top left corner from 10 yards out. Springfield tied it up at the 6:10 mark on a sensational goal from Murphy, as he bounced home his third of the game with his back to the cage.
Springfield's defense was able to kill off Western New England's two man advantage, and on the ensuing clear, Lynch found Murphy in transition to put the hosts on top, 8-7, with three minutes to play. LaGuerre added a man-up insurance goal with 1:15 on the clock as he buried a Sheehan feed on the crease.
For the game, Springfield owned a 49-32 advantage in shots and won the ground ball battle, 35-17. Branden Fernandez (Warwick, N.Y.) was dominant at the face-off "X", winning 15-of-18 draws to go along with 10 grounds balls.
The Pride will continue its difficult non-conference schedule when it hosts Middlebury on Wednesday evening at 5:00 pm.