Springfield, Mass. – May 2, 2009 - The Springfield College men’s lacrosse team won its second-consecutive Pilgrim Lacrosse League title on Saturday afternoon after downing Wheaton College, 12-7, at Amos Alonzo Stagg Field.
In a rematch of last season’s conference championship, the Pride once again earned an automatic qualifier to the upcoming 2009 NCAA Division III Men’s Lacrosse Championship. The Pride will find out who it will face on Sunday evening at 10:00 when the selection show airs on CBS College Sports.
Wheatons now stands at 7-7 this year, while Springfield now stands at 11-6 this season. The second-seeded Lyons had advanced to the title game after defeating third-seeded MIT, 14-7, on Wednesday. The top-seeded Pride dispatched fourth-seeded Babson, 24-4, in the other semifinal.
The Lyons and Pride battled in what would prove to be a very competitive game. Despite owning a 55-33 advantage in shots in the game, Springfield had trouble getting the ball by Wheaton's goalkeeper, Schuyler Horn, who was tremendous in the contest. The netminder finished with 19 saves between the pipes and routinely made sensational stops.
The story of the opening 15 minutes was the play of Horn, who put on a show between the pipes for the Lyons. Horn posted seven saves in the quarter, and limited the league's highest scoring offense to just one goal in the quarter. The Lyons struck first when Duncan Smith’s bounce shot from eight yards out found the back of the cage 4:13 into the first quarter.
Springfield evened the game at the 8:37 mark after Kyle Louer took a feed from Mike Delia and buried a shot for the Pride’s first strike of the contest.
The Pride opened up the second stanza with four-straight goals to take a 5-1 lead. Jake Beebe started the run after he finished a great pass from Kyle Gable. Gable then scored a goal of his own as he scored off a Jake Jones pass in transition with 9:25 left in the first half. SC continued to pour on the pressure as Pat Cavanaugh netted a man-down goal at the 6:14 mark, only to have Louer pump in his second goal of the game 47 seconds later.
Head Coach Keith Bugbee with senior captains Tom Albano, Jake Jones, and Jake Beebe
The Lyons scored for the first time in over 24 minutes as Ben Cederberg scored a goal in transition. After a Springfield turnover, Billy McNamara scooped up a ground ball and found Cederberg for Wheaton’s second goal.
Gable closed out the first half scoring with five seconds remaining as Springfield took advantage of a terrific save by Tom Albano on the other end. Albano made the save, raced up field, and found Jason Farrell just inside the restraining box. Farrell zipped a pass to Gable who buried his second goal of the opening 30 minutes.
Springfield came out roaring to start the second half as Joe Heney and Cavanaugh scored to give SC its largest lead of the game, 8-2, with 11:36 remaining. However, the Lyons mounted a rally and certainly caught some momentum as they scored three of the quarter's final four goals to make it a 9-5 ball game.
Jeff Gomer answered back after Cavanaugh's tally with a terrific goal as he dodged to his left and fired a rocket into the right side of the net. A Beebe unassisted goal regained Springfield's six-goal cushion as he intercepted a pass on Wheaton's clear and took the ball to the cage by himself. Wheaton then netted two quick goals as Smith sliced through the defense and bounced home a goal at the 9:08 mark. On the shot, Springfield was called for a slash and Cederberg made the Pride pay as he tallied a man-up marker 44 seconds later.
Cavanaugh opened up the scoring in the fourth as Beebe made things happen. After causing a turnover near midfield, Beebe fired a a 25-yard pass to Cavanaugh on the crease who slipped a shot into the cage. Duncan responded with his third of the game as he blasted a shot from 10 yards out in the lower corner of the cage. The Pride then flexed its muscle, getting unassisted goals from Ryan Thibodeau and Cavanaugh to take a 12-6 lead. Wheaton's Drew Schaffer closed out the scoring in the game with a man-up goal from 15 yards out as he picked up a Chris Landers shot that hit the pipe and fired a strike from 15 yards out.
Beebe finished with two goals, two assists, three caused turnovers, and six ground balls, while Cavanaugh added a game-high four goals. Gable also added two goals and three assists in the victory. Delia was tremendous in the game as the freshman went 9-of-12 from the "X", picking up six ground balls. Sam Burrell was a standout on defense, causing three turnovers in the win. Albano faced his toughest test in net among league opponents on the day and finished with 14 saves between the pipes.
Horn was tremendous with his 19 saves in the game, while Smith paced the offense with a hat trick. Gomer added five ground balls and three caused turnovers for the visitors as well.