When Springfield College head coach Keith Bugbee caught wind from friend Rick Bagby, now the head coach at Mass. Maritime, that former Scituate (Mass.) High School goalie Jake Reynolds was looking to transfer from Cabrini (Pa.) University, he was happy to learn the standout keeper was looking his way.
Fortunate to land a top-notch cageminder, he soon found that there was far more to his new netminder than just stopping shots.
“I knew Jake because he had a really good high school career, broke records in Massachusetts,” Bugbee explained. “I just looked into it and I was really excited that he wanted to come our way. To be honest, he’s a really good goalie, but his biggest impact for us is his leadership. When your best player is your best leader, that’s such a treat.”
A tireless worker, Reynolds is the first guy on the field and the last off at practice for Springfield. He dedicates off-hours to having teammates fire more shots on him, spends long bus rides continuing film study of the upcoming opponent, and firmly, vocally encourages those around him.
The all-time career saves leader and first player in Massachusetts high school history to record more than 1,000 stops in his career, Reynolds also comes across as incredibly humble, remaining a standout at the position through the years despite being born with cystic fibrosis, a chronic lung disorder that also can affect other organs.
Much like he does with the game of lacrosse, it’s just a matter of extra preparation in managing his affliction, which he said has never affected him in a game over the years.
“At this point, it’s part of life,” said Reynolds, who was named to the Division 3 Preseason All-America second team by Inside Lacrosse. “It adds an extra 30-45 minutes a day, as far as adding extra things like taking care of my body and things like that. It’s been a part of my routine, so I don’t think it adds too much of an extra burden each day.”
In his first season with the Pride, Reynolds started 13 of 16 games, posting an 8.50 goals-against average and winning 10 games en route to the program’s ninth consecutive NEWMAC championship.
Last year, as a junior, he stopped a career-high 214 shots and won 11 games to help the Pride win the NEWMAC again, earning himself Scholar All-America honors from the USILA and an honorable mention on the Division 3 Northeast All-Region Team in the process.
“He’s special,” Bugbee said. “We’ve been really, really fortunate with him coming here. I think he’s one of the top goalies in the country. He makes big saves on big opportunities, the things that special people do.”
Then the head coach opined, “I only wish I had him for all four seasons.”
A health care management major, Reynolds hopes that when his time on the lacrosse field ends, he can help others as he has been helped in the past.
In growing up with cystic fibrosis, he has had to rely on those medical professionals for much over the years and he sees this as a great opportunity to give back to the field.
“Being around it a lot in my life, I realized it was something that I wanted to be in this field, around a bunch of great people that have helped me,” Reynolds explained. “It motivated me to want to join the same field and industry to really impact people’s lives. I want to work in patient engagement, patient advocacy, something where I can directly impact people and their experiences.”
Until that time, he will continue to try and impact his teammates around him in the same manner that he has since he arrived on campus.
The Pride (5-2) have gotten balanced scoring, with six players already in double-digits for points, a group led by junior attack Jack Vail of Franklin, Mass. (12-13-25).
Capturing an 11th straight NEWMAC title is the aim for the group, but Reynolds remains committed to the present on the field, knowing full well there is a long season ahead for a team always wearing the bull’s-eye.
“We try to get 1 percent better each day,” he said. “When we do that it builds up through the year. Coach always talks about playing 60 minutes, so when we get our 1 percent it goes toward that, our end goal. It’s a long process we just have to trust it.”
In turn, there may be no player who has come through Springfield under Bugbee’s tutelage who has gained so much of the coach’s trust.
“He’s so easy to coach,” Bugbee said. “He’s never in a spot where he loses his brain. No matter the tension or situation, he’s amazingly calm.
“His parents did a great job. He’s a special young man, a wonderful young man. I can’t think of enough things to do to put him in leadership positions.”