With the win, the Pride earn an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament and will await to see who it will play when it is announced on Sunday evening. The Pride, who improved to 10-6 on the year, won the Pilgrim title for the seventh time.
Springfield raced out to a 3-0 lead as tallies from Tyler Montgomery (Brunswick, Maine), Kyle Gable (Somers, Conn.), and Joe Macchi (Mahopac, N.Y.) set the tone early for the home team. Montgomery’s unassisted strike at the 13:30 mark opened up the scoring in the contest, before Gable finished a feed from Jake Jones (Amherst, Mass.) just 1:21 later. Macchi found the back of the cage after splitting three defenders and bouncing a shot into the back of the net with 4:33 remaining in the opening frame.
Off the ensuing faceoff, Warren Garceau (Guilford, Conn.) ripped a shot into the back of the cage to start a frantic scoring pace for the visiting Lyons. Wheaton rattled off the next three goals to take its only lead of the game, 4-3, with 13:48 left in the first half.
After Garceau’s tally, Tim Horan (Cheshire, Conn.) buried an unassisted mark with 2:39 left in the first quarter before the Pride was flagged for unnecessary roughness right after the goal, giving Wheaton the ball back.
26 seconds later, Drew Schaffer (New Haven, Conn.) netted a man-up goal after he finished a Richie Rasamny (Redding, Conn.) feed, to knot the game at three all.
To open the second quarter, Duncan Smith (Centerport, N.Y.) dodged to his right and blasted a shot from 10 yards out to put the Lyons on top, 4-3. Springfield answered right back just under two minutes later when Louer netted his first goal of the contest. Coming from behind the cage, Louer roll dodged off his defender on the creased and jammed the ball far post to even the score at four.
Gable put Springfield back on top, 5-4, at the 9:50 mark when he beat his defender on the right side and bounced the ball into the net from three yards out. Wheaton would not go away as Ben Cederberg (Duxbury, Mass.) tied the game at five with 8:46 left in the opening half. Off a Lyons’ clear, Marco Barbone (Newton, Mass.) fired a cross field pass to Cederberg, who caught the ball while curling off his defender. Cederberg, turned and ripped a jump shot past Springfield goalie Tom Albano (Ridgewood, N.J.), sending the Wheaton bench into an uproar.
Gable feed a pass to the opposite side of the crease and Louer put a pair of moves on Wheaton goalie Schulyer Horn (New Hartford, Conn.) before finishing a backhanded shot with 7:31 on the clock to put the home squad up for a good. Jake Beebe (Sudbury, Mass.) took a Louer feed and netted Springfield’s seventh goal of the first half, giving SC a two-goal lead at halftime.
The Pride’s defense locked down the Lyons in the second half, not giving up a goal while allowing 18 shots. Albano, who made 11 saves in the game, came up with nine big stops to shutout Wheaton in the second stanza.
Springfield College senior captains Tyler Montgomery, Greg Welch, Joe Malvezzi, and Chris Sharpe with the 2008 Pilgrim League Championship Trophy
The Pride’s lone goal of the third quarter came after a successful clear, in which Gable found Louer all alone at the top of the restraining box. Louer took a couple steps and made no mistake as he ripped a shot to put SC up 8-5. Joe Heney (Plainview, N.Y.) netted the final goal of the game as his shot found the five-hole on Horn with 4:20 left in the game.
For the second straight game, the Pride held the visiting team’s leading scorer without a point in the game. This time, the duo of Joe Malvezzi (Wilbraham, Mass.) and Corey Schwarzkoph (Mamaroneck, N.Y.) shut down Wheaton’s Chris Landers (Manchester, Mass.), who entered the game with 29 goals and 10 assists.
The Pride held a 41-27 advantage on shots, including a 26-9 edge in the first half.
Chris Jez (Somers, Conn.) dominated the “X”, winnings 13-of-17 face offs to go along with five ground balls. Gable finished with two goals and two assists, while Louer added three goals an an assists. Jones added two assists in the win.
Horn finished with 14 saves, while Jeff Gomer (Duxbury, Mass.) had seven ground balls.
Springfield now awaits to see who it will play in the NCAA Tournament. The 2008 NCAA Divisions II and III Men’s and Women’s Lacrosse Championships selections will be announced exclusively on CBS College Sports Network during the NCAA Lacrosse Championship Selection Special. The men’s and women’s brackets will be revealed Sunday, May 4, between 7:30 and 8:30 p.m. Eastern time.