Saying a game was a “tale of two halves” might be cliche, but Saturday’s matchup between Springfield College and No. 10 Nazareth was truly a tale of two halves. The Pride jumped out to a 7-2 halftime lead before letting the Golden Flyers back into the game, only to pull just far enough ahead to score an 11-10 win in Rochester.
Springfield’s halftime lead, sparked by three first-half goals from midfielder Bryce Serriello, came on the back of a strong defensive effort by the Pride’s defense—particularly the man-down unit which held Nazareth to a one-for-five performance in the first half. Connor Nash had a strong performance between the pipes, coming up with eight of his 18 saves during that first half.
Water found its level in the second half, however, with Nazareth connecting on three-of-five extra-man opportunities in the second half. Luke Wooters netted three of his four goals in the second half and Drew Simoneau won 12-of-14 faceoffs to spark the comeback effort. Springfield’s experience won the day down the stretch, never wavering despite allowing a five-goal run in the middle of the fourth quarter that saw the Pride’s 9-5 advantage evaporate.
Seniors Ryon Lynch and Kevin Freeman stepped up, netting back-to-back goals to extend the lead with 1:41 to play—Freeman’s doubling as the game-winner. Simoneau won the ensuing faceoff, ran down and scored on Nash to narrow the lead once more, but a last-second shot by Wooters was stuffed by the Pride’s keeper to preserve the lead and give Springfield its first big win of the season.
Last season’s game, a 15-13 Nazareth victory, sent the Pride into something of a spiral as they would lose its next six games before rebounding to make the NCAA Tournament. This year’s team returns almost every player from that team and has learned the value of rebounding from losses and keeping momentum on its side. Whether or not this year’s win starts a six-game winning streak remains to be seen, but it’s certainly a better foot to start on than last year.
Leading Scorers: Springfield—Dylan Sheehan (2 goals, 2 assist, 4 points); Nazareth—Luke Wooters (4 goals, 1 assist, 5 points)
Goalkeepers: Springfield—Nash (W, 10 GA, 18 saves); Nazareth—Scott Brown (L, 11 GA, 4 saves)
Faceoffs: Springfield—Branden Fernandez (5-16), Devin Abad (2-6), Jake Versprille (0-3); Nazareth—Simoneau (18-25)
Special Teams: Springfield—(2-3, Serriello, Lynch); Nazareth—(3-10, Matt O’Neill, Chris Ayock, Troy Haefele)