Men’s lacrosse gets its fifth win in the last six games in the highest-scoring game of the season

By Sam MacGilpin

In the penultimate game of the Springfield College men’s lacrosse regular season, the Pride earned their fifth win in their last six games, defeating Salve Regina 17-8 at Stagg Field. The highest scoring game of the season from Springfield also secured a ticket to the NEWMAC playoffs, with a chance to host a semi-final game as well.

Mason Nocito got the Pride on the board first with a beautiful swim dodge into a 15-yard snipe. Nocito scored three goals in the match and an assist to add to his excellent final season. They didn’t stop there, as Gage Sperlonga gave Bryan Stensrud a crease dump opportunity, which he converted, and Jake Degnan scored one on a Vincent Scialdone faceoff win less than 10 seconds after Stensrud’s goal.

With several deep possessions from the Springfield defense, the Pride led 3-0 after just 10 minutes. Salve scored quickly after Springfield’s third goal, but with 14 seconds left in the first, Degnan delivered a roped pass to Stensrud to set up the Pride. three heading into the second quarter.

After the Seahawks converted a man-up opportunity, Degnan responded with two goals of his own, with the second coming from a Kevin Tierney pass through three defenders. Nocito put one past the Salve goalkeeper after Matt Webb set up Nocito perfectly. The Pride’s defense put on a clinic in the second quarter, led by junior goalkeeper Kaden Quirk’s four saves in the frame, as Springfield led 7-3 entering the second half.

Springfield head coach Keith Bugbee thought his team controlled the pace throughout the game and acknowledged that in the NEWMAC you have to be prepared for every game.

“If you don’t show up, you will definitely lose the match. They are good enough to beat us, but I think (we) are better,” Bugbee said. “We took nice, slow possessions and made good shots. I think a big part of our success comes from patience.”

Stensrud was patient in the first half, but scored nine seconds into the third quarter after Scialdone won the faceoff. Scialdone had a season-high 10 ground balls and now has an impressive 59 percent faceoff winning percentage.

Salve scored a goal to cut the lead to four later in the quarter, but Degnan went high and low to start a four-goal run by the Pride.

Close defender Connor Roberts made his impact felt despite not scoring, particularly in the third quarter when he took the ball from a Salve forward and forced a turnover, leading to a goal from Brady Soldo. Roberts committed two turnovers and three ground balls in the game, and Bugbee emphasized how important Roberts is to his team.

“It’s really phenomenal what he can do. He is always composed, never frustrated and a top athlete. He means so much to (the team),” Bugbee said.

As time wound down in the third, Nocito pulled his defender back, scored on a bouncer that hit the top left corner, and let his defender know.

With an eight-goal lead in the fourth quarter, Springfield pulled away, allowing Salve to get to a 3-0 run.

This gave the Seahawks some momentum, but it was short-lived.

When Salve thought they had another goal, Quirk made a spectacular save with the shot from less than a meter away, and a minute later Stensrud ended the run with a goal. Degnan scored three times in the final seven minutes, capping a season-high eight-goal day.

Degnan is now the leading scorer for the Pride, and the freshman forwards received high praise from Bugbee.

“He’s probably our best offensive guy right now, and for a freshman that’s great,” Bugbee said. “He’s not just a good athlete; he is a good lacrosse player. We have to get the ball to that man.”

With a win against Wheaton next Saturday, Springfield can move to 5-2 in the NEWMAC and claim the two seed in the conference.

The Pride will play against Lyon on April 27 at 1 p.m. and will also serve as the Pride’s senior day.

Photo by Ella Travaglino