Springfield, Mass. – May 3, 2014 – Led by Most Outstanding Player Devin Abad (East Longmeadow, Mass.), the Springfield College men’s lacrosse team defeated Babson College, 12-6, to win the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Championship on Stagg Field Saturday afternoon.
With the win, Springfield improves to 14-3 and earns an automatic qualifying bid to the upcoming NCAA Championship. The entire 2014 NCAA Division III Championship field will be announced at 10:00 pm on Sunday evening on a selection show airing on NCAA.com. The loss drops Babson’s record to 11-7. For just the third time in the last 14 seasons, including twice in the last three years, Springfield has reached the 14-win plateau.
The victory marks Springfield’s 56th-straight win over league opponents as the Pride is headed to the NCAA Championship for the seventh-straight season. After winning the last six Pilgrim Lacrosse League titles, the Pride won the NEWMAC’s first men’s lacrosse title since it last offered the sport in 2004.
Springfield held a 46-26 edge in shots and won 17 of the game’s 22 face-offs. Abad netted a game-high four goals and added an assist, while Ryon Lynch (Frederick, Md.) registered three assists and a goal. Branden Fernandez (Warwick, N.Y.) dominated the “x”, winning 16-of-21 draws and picking up 11 ground balls.
For Babson, Kyle Barsalou (Longmeadow, Mass.) posted two assists and a goal, while Spencer Low (Natick, Mass.) found the back of the cage twice. Adam Daroff (Pepper Pike, Ohio) made 15 saves in goal and Alex Bunick (Millis, Mass.) caused three turnovers.
Just 1:07 into the game, Abad dodged to his left and stung a shot stick side high from 10 yards out to put the hosts on top. However, Babson answered back with the game’s next three goals and would take a 3-1 lead after the first quarter.
The Beavers run started at the 7:57 mark as Brendan Coan (Towson, Md.) let a bid fly from 15 yards that beat Springfield goalie Connor Nash (Burnt Hills, N.Y.), who was screened on the play. Barsalou put the visitors on top with 2:24 remaining as he blasted a low shot and Alex Youngwell (Huntington, N.Y.) added to Babsons lead after he bullied his way towards the cage and struck just inside the left post with 46 seconds left.
Springfield came out with an offensive focus to start the second, netting three goals in the first 4:21 of the frame. Bryce Serriello (Cape Cod, Mass.) got things started in the second by blistering a shot off a feed from Dylan Sheehan (Massapequa, N.Y.) just 32 seconds into the stanza. Abad continued Springfields momentum with his second of the afternoon on a strike from 15 yards before Lynch delivered a gorgeous feed to Sheehan who finished inside to regain a 4-3 lead.
The Pride opened up a 5-3 cushion on Abads third of the afternoon as he connected on the run with 2:24 left in the half. However, after the Pride were flagged for slashing, Babsons John Obadia (Port Washington, N.Y.) netted a man-up marker with 12 ticks left to make it a 5-4 game heading into the half.
Babson evened things at five apiece with 6:29 left in the third quarter as Low converted a beautiful finish along the crease off a pass from Barsalou.
From that point on, the Pride reeled off five unanswered to take control of the game with a 10-5 lead. Springfield went back ahead for good after Abad found a streaking Serriello, who teed one up from 10 yards for a laser of a strike with 3:58 on the clock in the third. Brendan Boss (West Springfield, Mass.) put the crowd on its feet after a goal in an unsettled situation in which he raced past defense and finished while being checked at the 2:34 mark. After scooping up a ground ball on a Daroff save, Matt Fleisher (Franklin Lakes, N.J.) found the top shelf on a jump shot just 32 seconds later to make it an 8-5 contest heading into the fourth.
Abad netted his fourth of the game just 52 seconds into the fourth to make it a four-goal game and Lynch snagged a critical ground ball at midfield and raced towards goal, only to deliver a perfect pass to an uncoming Colby Verge (Derry, N.H.) in transition for another marker at 11:24.
Low finally scored the Beavers first goal in over 10 minutes on a finish along the crease, but the Pride proved to strong down the stretch, as a man-up goal from Kevin Sainte (Belmont, Mass.) and Lynch goal off a Ryan Murphy (Mansfield, Mass.) put the exclamation point on the championship win.