New London, Conn. - May 5, 2018 - The Springfield College men's lacrosse team took a 6-2 advantage into the half and turned in an 11-7 victory over Coast Guard in the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Championship at Cadet Memorial Field on Saturday.
The win boosted Springfield's record to 13-5 as the Pride captured its 11th-consecutive conference title and earned the NEWMAC's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Coast Guard finished its season at 14-4. Springfield will find out who it will play in the first round of the NCAA Tournament when the Division III field is announced at 9 p.m. on Sunday night. This marked the 19th-straight season that the Springfield College men's lacrosse program has played for the conference championship.
Jake Reynolds (Scituate, Mass.) was selected named the Most Outstanding Player of the Championship and was sensational between the pipes, totaling 17 saves. It marked the second time in the last three seasons that Reynolds was chosen as the top player in the championship game. In a game that featured two teams who both appeared in the latest NCAA Division III Regional Rankings, Coast Guard held a 42-32 advantage in shots and committed just six turnovers to the Pride's 14.
For the Pride, Jack Vail (Franklin, Mass.) produced three goals and two assists to pace an attack unit that accounted for six goals and six assists in the victory. Tom Hurley (Goffstown, N.H.) was credited with three assists and a goal and Joe Hawley (Poulsbo, Wash.) registered two goals and an assist. Matt D'Andrea (Cheshire, Conn.) had a strong outing at the face-off spot, winning 13-of-21 draws in the contest.
After Coast Guard's Jake Pope stung a man-up goal just 3:19 in the game, Springfield poured on four unanswered strikes over the next 14:35 to open up a 4-1 edge. Chris Cunnington (Yorktown Heights, N.Y.) got the run started with a transition goal off a feed from Vail at 6:49 in the first, before Vail blistered an unassisted goal just 1:45 later. Springfield would then find the back of the cage 1:29 into the second quarter when Matt Allen (Chevy Chase, Md.) slipped through the Bears defense to bury a Hurley assist, and Vail's second of the contest 1:15 later gave Springfield a three-goal cushion.
Coast Guard would score their first goal in over 18 minutes on a Anthony Wyler marker, only to have the Pride benefit from two goals from Hawley in the final 5:16, including an inside finish with 11 ticks on the clock, to take 6-2 advantage into the half.
Springfield's lead ballooned to 7-2 when Duncan Preston (South Portland, Maine) made no mistake from 12 yards out for a man-up goal at 9:49 of the third. Wyler's second of the game just 1:14 later pulled the hosts within four, but both Vail and Hurley produced strikes 1:30 apart which allowed Springfield to open up a 9-3 advantage.
However, Coast Guard would make things interesting as they erupted for a 4-0 surge over the next 6:38 to pull within 9-7. Springfield would respond right back, as D'Andrea won the ensuing face-off and Vail found Lucas Habich (Little Silver, N.J.) for a goal at 8:27. D'Andrea again was able to win the next face-off, and following a huge ground ball from Cunnington, Vail again connected with Habich, as he blistered a shot into the back of the cage just 1:05 later for the game's final goal.