Worcester, Mass. – Springfield College got two goals and two assists from the league's leading scorer in Ryon Lynch (Frederick, Md.) and the visiting Pride held off a hard-charging Clark University squad and posted a closer-than-you-think 10-7 Pilgrim League lacrosse win on Wednesday evening at Granger Field.
Springfield, which has won the last five conference titles, improved to 6-7 overall and more importantly, 4-0 in league play, while the Cougars, who were in search of a program record for wins in a season, sees their record move to 7-5 overall and 2-2 in conference action.
The game started out slow and featured one goal in the first quarter – a Ryan Murphy (Mansfield, Mass.) strike off of a feed from Kevin Freeman (Minisink, N.Y.) nearly ten minutes into the contest.
Lynch answered back with a strong individual move that resulted in an unassisted tally less than a minute later.
The Cougars then scored back-to-back goals to take their first lead as Christiansen found a cutting Rob Holden (East Longmeadow, Mass.) for a score and then Jacob Maselek (Marblehead, Mass.) fed Jeffrey Wasson (Buckhorn, Ontario), making the score 3-2 with 5:33 left in the half.
Springfield wasted little time knotting the score as Brendan Boss (West Springfield, Mass.) ripped a shot past Kevin Ranta (Beverly, Mass.), igniting a stretch that saw the Pride record five straight goals spanning the second and third quarters.
Following Boss' score, Bryce Serriello (Centerville, Mass.) gave the Pride a 4-3 halftime edge and then Tony LaGuerre (Shrub Oak, N.Y.) scored to open the third period. Freeman then netted a pair less than a minute apart to give Springfield a seemingly comfortable 7-3 edge.
The Cougars, however, got a huge boost going into the fourth quarter when Christiansen battled through a pair of defenders and scored as the horn sounded to end the third period.
Clark's momentum carried through into the fourth as Wasson scored a man-up unassisted goal with a little less than 12 minutes left. The Scarlet and White then pulled to within one at 7-6 when Christiansen scored again with a little more than ten minutes left to play.
Lynch gave the Pride a little breathing room when he was set up by Maxwell Wildes (Kennebunk, Maine) with 5:02 left.
The Cougars wouldn't go away and less than a minute later Nick Figliola (Weston, Conn.) found Jon Spencer (Hollis, N.H.), who fired a rocket that whizzed past Springfield netminder Robert Maher (Katonah, N.H.), making the score 8-7 with 4:15 to play.
In the end, the Pride proved to be too much, getting insurance goals from Wildes and Freeman in the final two minutes to secure their 32nd consecutive regular season Pilgrim League victory.
Both goalies – Maher and Ranta – were fantastic in net, turning back 12 shots apiece.
Branden Fernandez (Warwick, N.Y.) dominated to faceoff spot, winning 17 of 19 battles and scooping up a game-best 14 groundballs.
Each team took advantage of special situations, with the two teams combining to go 5-for-9 on the man-advantage.
In addition to Lynch, Freeman finished with a game-high five points (three goals, two assists), while Murphy, Serriello and Wildes all had a goal and an assist.
Christiansen, meanwhile, paced the Clark offensive attack with three goals and an assist and Wasson had two goals of his own.
The Pride will return to action on Saturday when they visit Wheaton for a 1:00 p.m. start, while the Cougars are off until next Wednesday when they travel to Babson.