New London, Conn. - May 4, 2019 - For the 12th-consecutive season, the Springfield College men's lacrosse team is headed back to the NCAA Division III Championship Tournament as it bested Coast Guard, 12-10, on Saturday afternoon in the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Championship.
With the win, Springfield improves to 10-9 on the year and will await its opponent in the national tournament when the NCAA Championship Selection Show airs on NCAA.com at 9 pm on Sunday, May 5. It was a historic win for head coach Keith Bugbee, now in his 36th season at the sidelines, as he became just the fifth coach in the history of collegiate men's lacrosse to capture 400 victories, and the only to ever win his first 400 games at just one institution.
Jack Vail (Franklin, Mass.) was named the Most Outstanding Player of the championship as he totaled four goals and an assist to lead the Pride's offense. Lucas Habich (Little Silver, N.J.) registered three goals and an assist, while Joe Hawley (Poulsbo, Wash.) found the back of the cage three times. Cole Finerty (Kensington, N.H.) made saves in the win, and Joseph Cameron (Stoneham, Mass.) picked up a team-best six ground balls.
This marked the second-straight year that the Pride knocked off the Bears on the road for the conference title, as Coast Guard's season came to a close with a 14-4 record. Riley McNulty had a game-high five goals and three assists to lead the Bears, and Benner Geurtsen would score three goals in the final game of his career. The Bears outshot Springfield 48-36, won 17 of the 26 face offs, and held a 43-26 edge in ground balls.
Springfield had a fantastic start to the game as goals from Habich, Cameron Glover (Brunswick, Maine), and Hawley gave the the visitors a 3-0 advantage with 5:06 left in the opening quarter. McNulty would score back-to-back goals in a span of less than two minutes as the Bears cut the deficit to 3-2 with 2:15 left in the first quarter, and Geurtsen knotted the game 3-3 just 50 seconds into the second quarter.
However, the Pride answered less than a minute later on a goal by Hawley along the crease, before Vail would score consecutive goals to help Springfield build a 6-3 lead with 8:41 left in the half. Geurtsen and McNulty would again score making it 6-5 with 2:16 left, but Hawley found the back of the net with 53 seconds left in the half giving the Pride a 7-5 halftime lead.
Springfield would take advantage of the Bears 10-man ride as Connor Roberts (Somers, Conn.) found Vail in transition for a strike 1:27 into the third quarter, and the teams would alternate goals three times in the quarter as the Pride led 10-8 after three.
Cole Pecora (North Haven, Conn.) got free down the right alley for an unassisted goal to give the Pride an 11-8 lead with 13:08 left, and after Geutsen cut the deficit to 11-9, Habich answered with his third of the afternoon with 7:09 left for the Pride to make the score 12-9. Logan Morin closed the scoring on a goal with 4:16 left for Coast Guard and Springfield's defense would hold strong down the stretch to once again win the conference title.
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