It can be argued that spring is the best time for SC athletics. One can attribute such hype to the men’s volleyball team, which just finished February undefeated and hasn’t lost a set since Jan. 28. But one would be remiss if they failed to acknowledge what is anticipated to occur next door to Blake Arena, on Stagg Field, this spring. Winning. Lots and lots of winning. Springfield is pretty good at lacrosse as well.
Between the men’s and women’s programs, the achievements have been plentiful. The men have qualified for the NCAA Tournament for nine straight seasons. The core of the recent success is all grown up too, as the Pride boasts a roster of 11 seniors and one grad student. Springfield is off to a great start, as the team stormed back from a late deficit at home to stun Nazareth College 11-10.
The women bounced back from a heartbreaking 2015 NEWMAC Finals loss and took the New England Conference title back in 2016 behind a promising pool of talent. But it didn’t stop there. They went on to venture into the summer, and make it to the Sweet 16. The team assembled this year looks to join the company of the elite women squads of the 21st century in the likes of 2002, 2005, 2006, 2012. 2013, and 2016 that reached the NCAAs through conquering the NEWMAC. The women have also started the year off on the left side of the record column after their 16-10 win over cross town rival Western New England.
When breaking down each program’s roster, both have plenty of depth. Though the men have plenty of youthful talent on the roster, such as freshman LSM Jake Ross, and returning talent such as Tom Hurley (43 goals, 29 assists,72 points), the amount of four year players brings on a new dimension and definition of “depth.” Here’s a list of some seniors along with career stats and achievements:
Dom Abate (2016 First-Team All-Conference, 2016 All-Regional Honorable Mention): 52 goals, 23 assists, 75 points, 26 groundballs, 6 caused turnovers
Tim Cozens: 17 goals, 6 assists, 23 points, 21 groundballs, 3 caused turnovers
Ty Daugstrup: 24 goals, 18 assists, 42 points, 22 groundballs, 6 caused turnovers
Brendan Dooley (3x First-Team All-Conference, 2016 All-American, 2016 All-Region Honorable Mention, 2016 Conference Player of the Year): 20 goals, 16 assists, 36 points, 148 groundballs, 50 caused turnovers.
Phillip Dumont: 27 groundballs, 13 caused turnovers
Matthew LaCroix: 96 groundballs
Scott Rogers: 8 goals, 5 assists, 13 points, 11 groundballs
With the star power of Dooley and Abate as well as the wide variation of players who can distribute the ball and collect groundballs at will, the men’s team will be quite the show to marvel at this spring. Just get out to Stagg when they’re there, the team only has five home games left.
The women’s roster is also supplied with a seemingly endless string of players who can hurt the competition. Shelby Corsano is an All-Conference player, who has absolutely torched the competition with her scoring ability since her freshman year. As a first year player, she netted 20 goals in 18 games. Corsano would proceed to revolutionize the Pride’s offense in 2016, setting a new program single season record for goals with 56. Based off of the clip that she scored at late in the season last year, it wouldn’t be too far fetched to say that she has a chance of cracking 60 goals in a season.
Bianca Raniolo will return in her graduate year as Springfield’s field general. Through just two years as the Pride’s attacker in her junior and senior year, Raniolo dished out 58 assists, and already has five helpers this year.
As they face more difficult competition throughout the year, the biggest question for Springfield will be how its defense holds up, as it has a squad of youthful defenders. Andie Stone is only a sophomore, but she has started in 22 of 23 games she’s played. Head coach Kristen Mullady will likely look for her second year defender to lead the team’s new wave of defense in Bianca Dos Santos and Michala Niden.
Offensively, there is a seemingly endless supply of weapons. Allie Goddard has already scored two goals this year after registering 11 as a freshman off the bench. Kristen Steidler is a skilled finisher close to the net. Stephanie Hyslip and Katie Stallone also saw increased minutes as the season progressed last year, and both have already seen the field in 2017. Hyslip for the time being, is starting, and is well on pace towards shattering her career high in season goals of 6, picking up two in the win over WNE. Off the bench, Stallone picked up a goal as well as a draw control.
In addition to strong players on each side of the field, Springfield also has a handful of players who have the ability to affect both sides of the ball. Julia Bireley made the cut as a defender, but has developed into an effective scorer as well. Last year, Bireley netted 9 goals to go along with 17 caused turnovers. Against the Golden Bears, she scored two goals and caused two turnovers. As of now it seems as though the junior is on her way towards becoming a prolific two-way player, who could see conference honors in her future if improvement continues.
Bireley’s sharp incline in skill compliments the play of fellow junior Ann Mahoney, who is arguably the Pride’s best all-around player. The third year midfielder/defender from Saratoga Springs finished the 2016 campaign with 22 goals and 37 caused turnovers.
If the talent clicks, both the men and women lacrosse programs are primed to make the Big Dance, and possibly make a lot of noise on the brightest stages.