Dylan Sheehan’s triple-overtime game-winning gaol helped Springfield defeat Middlebury, 11-10 (3OT) in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. (Photo Credit: Springfield College)By Matt Noonan
In the words of Springfield College men’s lacrosse head coach Keith Bugbee, Wednesday’s NCAA Tournament triple-overtime win against Middlebury College was ‘one for the ages.’
Springfield and Middlebury traded goals during the final two sessions before ending regulation tied at 10-10.
The game continued in overtime, but neither team was able to locate the back of the net until the third extra session when Dylan Sheehan snapped a shot over the middle to provide the visiting Pride with a dramatic 11-10 triple-overtime win.
“The effort and the commitment to playing 60 minutes today was unbelievable,” Bugbee said in a postgame interview. “Just the desire to win this game … I don’t think I have ever been apart of something like this … unbelievable.”
The game was indeed one for the ages – not trying to steal Bugbee’s words, I promise – but now the Pride must channel their excitement by putting fourth their best effort tomorrow against St. Lawrence University in the second round.
Unlike the Pride, the Saints cruised to a first-round victory, defeating New England College, 25-2. Jeremy Vautour netted six goals, while Conor Healey recorded seven points on three goals and four assists.
Saturday’s second round winner will advance to next Wednesday’s quarterfinal against either Amherst or RIT.
With an exciting first-round victory in the rearview mirror, Bugbee believes his team’s morale should help the squad keep their championship hopes alive as they begin the next phase of their NCAA Tournament journey.
“I think the sky is the limit,” said Bugbee. “As long as they put this kind of effort out and this kind of commitment to do all the little things right and just compete for the entire 60 minutes of the game.”
Amherts’ Matt Killian and the Lord Jeffs will opening NCAA Tournament play on Wednesday against Colorado College. (Photo Credit: Matt Noonan for NoontimeSports.com)
By Matt Noonan
The NCAA Division 3 Tournament commences on Wednesday with 30 teams vying for the national championship. Massachusetts will have six teams contending for the crown, and below is a quick preview of each local first round contest.
Colorado College @ Amherst College: The Lord Jeffs never gave up against the Jumbos yesterday, but did fall short in their first New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Championship appearance. Amherst, which will be making its second trip to NCAA Tournament, will look to rebound on Wednesday when they welcome the Tigers to campus.
The Lord Jeffs, who’re one win shy of matching their program’s all-time win mark (15), earned 14 victories this season. They defeated Endicott, Western New England and Wesleyan (twice), and Bowdoin in the conference tournament quarterfinals.
Head coach John Thompson will rely on his senior class – his first graduating class – to guide the Lord Jeffs to their third tournament win (The Jeffs are 2-1 all-time in NCAA Tournament play). Quinn Moroney leads the Purple and White with 100 points on 75 helpers and 25 goals, while Kane Haffey and Devin Acton have combined for 103 tallies. Greg Majno, the team’s goaltender and Acton’s high school teammate from Lincoln-Sudbury, will be counted on to stop the Colorado attack, which compiled 174 strikes in 15 games this season (that’s 11.60 goals per game).
Western New England @ Springfield College: Earlier this season, the Pride needed a fourth quarter rally to defeat their cross-town rival, 9-7. Springfield head coach Keith Bugbee told NoontimeSports.com that his team regrouped in the second half, which was a big reason why they were victorious.
Since their last meeting, both teams have improved their play and managed to acquire conference tournament championship hardware.
Western New England will look for its defense, including their backstop Brandon Body, to challenge the Springfield attack. Against the Gulls of Endicott on Saturday, the Golden Bears defense managed to shutdown their opponent’s offense and yielded just two second half markers. The Golden Bears offense, however, clicked into gear in the third quarter and was led by Colton Craig, who finished the contest with five strikes. Craig has recorded 41 points this season on 35 goals and six helpers, while Adam Knapton leads the Blue and Gold in points (64), goals (45) and assists (19).
Similar to the Golden Bears, the Pride relies on its upperclassmen to carry both their offense and defense. Springfield’s Bryce Serriello leads the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) in goals with 40, while Ryan Murphy is fourth with 32 strikes. Connor Nash, Springfield’s goaltender, is third in saves (163) and fourth in save percentage (57.4).
Both teams can go on runs, so expect defense to be the key component in this particular matchup.
Endicott’s Harrison Cotter has recorded a career-high 68 points on 55 goals and 13 assists this season. (Photo Credit: Matt Noonan for NoontimeSports.com)
Keene State @ Endicott College: Similar to the Lord Jeffs, the Gulls received an at-large bid to this year’s tournament and will open play against an Owls squads that captured the Little East Conference crown.
The Gulls, who finished with 14 wins, managed to earn a 6-4 halftime lead on Saturday against the Golden Bears before their opponent used a 9-2 second half run to claim the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) championship. So, expect Saturday’s contest to be motivation for head coach Sean Quirk’s Gulls.
Endicott finished its regular season conference slate undefeated, as well as earned impressive non-conference wins over Connecticut College, Eastern Connecticut State, Middlebury, Bowdoin and Stevens. The Gulls are led by Harrison Cotter, who recorded a career-high 68 points on 55 goals and 13 assists, and goaltender Cameron Bell, who posted an 8.07 goals against average with 178 saves.
The Gulls have appeared in seven NCAA Tournaments. They’ve faced-off against Keene State four times in program-history, winning three meetings, including an 11-10 tournament win against the Owls in 2005. Keene State enters their first round matchup on a nine-game winning streak.
Emmanuel College @ Tufts University: It’ll be offense vs. defense in this particular matchup, as the Saints will rely on its back line and goaltender Austin Lauzier to stop the nation’s top scoring offense (Tufts leads the nation with 19.00 goals per game, according to NCAA.com).
Tufts’ Chris Schoenhut is fourth on the squad in points (79). He’ll be one of many players to watch against Emmanuel College on Wednesday. (Photo Credit: Matt Noonan for NoontimeSports.com)
Emmanuel, who will be making its first-ever trip to the NCAA Tournament, captured its initial Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) conference and regular season crowns with wins over Lassell College (regular season de-facto championship) and Becker College (tournament final). The Saints have received contributions from every player on their roster, but are led by Chris Curtis, who leads the Blue and Gold in points (45). Curtis and Kaile Maclean-Daley have netted 31 goals, respectively, and Ryan Sabuda leads the unit in helpers with 21.
Similar to Emmanuel, Tufts has received contributions from everyone on their roster, but have been paced by John Uppgren, who leads the Powder Blue and White with 105 points on 54 goals and 51 assists. Beau Wood leads the unit with 55 goals, while Cole Bailey is first in helpers with 55.
Tufts will be making its seventh appearance in the NCAA Tournament, its sixth straight, according to their athletic department’s website. The Jumbos are 16-2 overall and have won one national title, which occurred in 2010.
Springfield College’s men’s lacrosse team is off to a 4-0 start. (Photo Credit: Matt Noonan for NoontimeSports.com)
The Springfield College men’s lacrosse team has commenced 2014 with a 4-0 start. They’ll look to extend their current winning streak to five-games tomorrow when they travel to Schenectedy, New York to take on Union College, which defeated the Pride last season.
Earlier today, Noontime Sports caught up with head coach Keith Bugbee to talk about the Pride’s early success, along with their senior leadership and defense.
On the season thus far: “I’m very proud of my team. It’s a senior team with good leadership and I think we’ve had to grind out some wins (thus far). I knew the Western New England game wasn’t going to be easy because they were sort of desperate for a win and we had beat them the last two years in a row, so I think they were coming in almost like a wounded animal. We had to beat them because they weren’t going to beat themselves. I thought they played well. We have another tough one tomorrow against Union, another game (we’ll) have to grind out, but these are great victories for us because this is how a championship (team) is built.”
On the team’s last contest against WNE: “The WNE game is a little different from every other game because I know their coach, I know half their roster and I recruited a lot of kids he has on his roster, so we both have a lot of local kids. We know each other really well and they’re always great games.
“(Against the Golden Bears), I thought were a little tight early in the game, especially on the offensive end and I think they just settled down (as the game progressed). We usually stay on the field at halftime and we go into the backend corner and do our thing, but for some reason we decided to go inside and we hardly never do it unless its crazy weather. I am not saying (our halftime location) won us the game, but we managed to refocus our attention, but we weren’t playing bad. I thought we rushed our offense and I thought we didn’t have rhythm or flow to our offense (in the first half).
“The WNE goalie (Brandon Body) was playing really well. I felt we were playing a lot of defense and quick offense, but I thought the second half we played more like we have done in the two previous games with a little more ball control, a little more flow and we got guys moving without the ball. We were also able to take some better shots. We just seemed to fall back into a good rhythm. In the third quarter we had the ball more, which was nice, but in the fourth quarter we got some quick shots and there were a couple really nice goals.”
On tomorrow’s game against Union: “Union is a very, very good team. They beat us last year at home and they have a very good goalie (Stefan Basile). I think their strength is on the defensive end because they have a really solid defense, but they certainly have guys that can take advantage of opportunities, while also scoring goals, too. They’re really good athletes, but they’re a lot like us. I would say they push the ball when they can and Paul Wehrum is a good coach. His kids play hard for him, so it’s going to be a tough game. I really, really think it’s going to be two grinding teams and I also think it’s probably going to be a low scoring game, too. Hopefully we don’t give up a lot of goals, but I think it’ll be a great challenge for us on the road.”
On what’s worked this year prior to last season: “Two years ago we had a total senior team. I really liked the 2012 team a lot. They went into overtime with Stevens in the NCAA tournament and beating Middlebury by 11 goals – that was a really similar team to this team. (Our team now) is senior oriented, very focused and then last year’s team – I kept calling them young, but then halfway through the year I stopped calling them young because it wasn’t so much that they were young. They weren’t young, but (our juniors, who started) played behind seniors for two years. Last year was the first year for majority of my players (having a chance to compete) and being in the limelight, so we handled some growing pains, but I thought last year we got a little bit better (each day). All in all, it was a year to get some guys some experience. We did not a nice job in our league and we beat Wesleyan at the end.
“We now have 12 seniors this year, a lot of them playing key roles. We have (two seniors) in net that really playing like senior goalies, along with senior middies and attack men like Murphy and Lynch, they’re both playing well. We have a senior at the face-off X, so key positions all around. They don’t seem to take a day off because they practice hard every day and they show up for every game and they know this is their last time to see a Nazareth or a Stevens Tech or a Middlebury, so the urgency is there, I don’t think they want to end their last game on a loss. I am really happy for them and I hope (this current trend) continues, but I think they also like the challenge (of our non-conference schedule).”
On the team’s seniors: “The seniors are just a great bunch. They’re all leaders, including Devin Abad, who has become a really good two-way midfielder, along with Ryan Murphy and Ryon Lynch. Matt Giannelli at defense is playing like a true senior, leader and captain. He’s done a fantastic job on defense and we’re excited to see him step up each game and have a big challenge. Both goalies are competing like heck right now. Bob Maher and Connor Nash have been splitting a lot of time over their whole careers. They’re both supportive and I am proud of both of them for that.”
On the team’s defensive play this season: “WNE is a perfect example. If we can hold a team to seven goals then that’s pretty good, so if they can do that they’re then allowing the offense to score. I don’t ever want to be in a game where we’re trying to outscore the opponent because that’s risky. They’re just a good unit and they’re sliding well and it is just a really good unit. It’s cliché, but defenses will win championships, no question. If you try to outscore an opponent that’s not the formula because you have to hold them down and not let them score at will.”
Regis coach Josh Blumenthal has the Pride headed in the right direction! (Photo Credit: Matt Noonan for NoontimeSports.com)
By Matt Noonan
WESTON, MA – In his second season with Regis College’s men’s lacrosse team, Josh Blumenthal has noticed some positive changes that are helping the Pride improve. And after their 26-3 setback to Springfield College on Wednesday, the second year coach chatted with Noontime Sports about the team’s current campaign.
On Playing Strong Competition: “We see the competition that we need to get to and we maybe 20 goals apart, but next year we hope to get to 18 goals and 16 goals, so I think you have to play the best to be the best and that’s what I think (the game against Springfield will teach us). We got beat pretty good (on Wednesday), but we saw when they had four guys swarming a lacrosse ball on the ground and we had only have one that’s what we need to do to take it to the next level.”
On The Team’s Strengths: “One is our conditioning because we are light on numbers, so we have to be conditioned and two is the heart my guys have and they just don’t give up and I think that was pretty evident from the game. The score didn’t necessarily go in our favor, but we didn’t stop running the whole time, so I think it’s a combination of the two.”
On Nicky Rodrigo’s Play: “Nicky and Peter Leighton, who’s a sophomore, are 1 and 2 in scoring, so one of the tough things about our team is we have a lot of freshmen and sophomores and one of the great things about our team is we have a lot of freshmen and sophomores, so I am looking longevity here, but Nicky is fantastic, he’s a hard worker and I think his style of play down in Miami was little bit different because he was the last guy to touch the ball where now he has to be the first guy to initiate, so his goals are a lot more earned this year than last year. Once he becomes more accustom to the NCAA speed, I think he’s going to be a force to be reckoned with, which I think he already is.”
On Peter Leighton’s Play: “Peter was our leading scorer last year and he has come back probably better than he was last year, which is exciting for me. I think he had the freshmen blues in a sense where he wasn’t used to the speed and now he’s used to it, so he knows he’s going to get checked, but now he knows to run right around it. A lot of his goals that he’s scored this year, he’ll get pushed at the last second as he’s flying and tumbling to score.”
On NECC (New England Collegiate Conference) Lacrosse: “The more lacrosse the better. I hope we can get to seven and get the time going for the automatic qualifier within two years, but I think it’s great.”
On Facing Pilgrim League Opponents: “I think we’re a lot better skilled than we were last year, so I expect the results to be better, but I think the fact that we’re a year older, this is my second year, the guys have had me for a second year, so they kind of know what to expect, so I’m excited about it. I am excited for the end of the season, whether we win or we lose, so we can look at the stats side to side, and I expect more than half to be more in our favor than they were last year. That would be a good barometer for me for in my second year.”
On Team Improvements: “I think the work ethic is a lot better. I think we brought in some lacrosse players where I think some of the guys from before came to Regis just to come to Regis and they wanted to play lacrosse. Now, they’re lacrosse players coming to Regis to play lacrosse. There’s a lot of similarities in the way we line up between Springfield and us, the way we carry ourselves, so I think just the mindset has gotten better.”
On Coach Bugbee’s Postgame Comments: “I have known Keith for a while. His daughter and I coached at Babson when we coached the NEWMAC (New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference) championship team together and I knew him when I was in high school, but he’s such a well respected guy and I asked him if he wouldn’t mind talking (to my team), so it was short and sweet, but just basically said that you’re working hard and kudos to you and when I took over (the Springfield program) I had to do very similar things. (He also said) to believe in your coach, believe in your program and success will follow.”
Springfield’s Ryon Lynch (40) celebrates one of his goals against Regis on Wednesday! (Photo Credit: Matt Noonan for NoontimeSports.com)
WESTON, MA – After earning their first Pilgrim League victory against Regis College on Wednesday evening, Noontime Sports caught up with Springfield College men’s lacrosse coach Keith Bugbee to chat about the win, as well as their season, too.
On the season thus far: “We play a really tough schedule and then we have a couple league games that are not quite the same level, but we don’t want to change what we’re doing. I was pretty pleased because I thought we just stayed with our system because we kept a pretty short leash on the guys to not get crazy out there and just do what we do. This is probably one of the youngest teams I’ve had in a while, so it was good to see they didn’t get crazy and just stayed with what they had to do. We had a couple guys score their first collegiate goal, so that’s fun for them, but we made sure we got guys in early and (Josh Blumenthal) is doing a great job here. He’s a good coach and just has little thinner roster than we have right now.”
On playing non-conference foes: “I’m a big fan and always have been of playing a tough a schedule, especially independent wise, so I think we play one of the toughest schedules in the country and last year we pretty much won all those games, and this year we lost a bunch of them, but we got better every time and I don’t think we would have won against Western New England if we hadn’t played that schedule because that forces us to play the game faster and smarter, but last year I had 13 seniors and we had a really strong team, this year I have one senior, so we’re starting like four freshmen and four sophomores and a lot of guys that are definitely young, but it’s a good bunch of guys, they work hard and I think we’re getting better.”
On the play of Ryon Lynch: “Even when we were playing those tough games, he still is I believe top-10 in the country for points right now (and) he’s good for like 4-5 points a game, which is great. He sees everything and a great kid and a leader.”
On Building Off This Win: “With this young team, you can’t substitute winning because a win is a win and because of our schedule this was the first game some guys even got in. A couple of these freshmen scored their first college goal today, so that’s great.”