SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Top-seeded Springfield College outscored No. 4 MIT, 9-3, in the second half en route to a 13-4 victory in the semifinals of the Pilgrim Lacrosse League tournament on Wednesday night. Freshman Graham Francis (Palos Verdes Estates, Calif.) paced the Engineers with two goals and an assist as they finished the season with a 5-10 record.
Freshman Luke Verdi (Middletown, Md.) posted one goal and an assist while senior Sean Burke (Centennial, Colo.) tacked on a goal for MIT. Junior Joel Santisteban (Lawrence, N.Y.) along with freshmen Chris McPherson (Gaithersburg, Md.) and Jake Shearman (Hertfordshire, United Kingdom) each picked up two groundballs. Senior Christopher Rullan (Wexford, Pa.) registered seven groundballs and 20 saves, including 13 in the first half.
The Pride outshot the Engineers, 23-4, as it established a 3-0 lead at the 5:22 mark of the second quarter. A solo effort by Burke put MIT on the board almost a minute later but Springfield found the back of the net with 17 seconds to go before halftime.
Francis brought the Cardinal and Gray within two (4-2) after 2:37 elapsed in the third quarter; however, the hosts generated a three-goal spurt to gain some breathing room. MIT stopped the run when Verdi connected on a feed from Francis with 2:39 left in the quarter but Springfield quickly found the back of the net to make the score, 8-3.
The Pride increased its margin early in the fourth quarter but the score remained unchanged until a flurry of activity occurred during the final four minutes of regulation. Springfield started the burst with 3:52 on the clock which was followed by Francis redirecting a feed from Verdi 30 seconds after the faceoff. The Pride then closed out the game with three straight goals.