BABSON PARK, Mass.—First-year Spencer Low (Natick, Mass.) scored three first quarter goals and senior goalie James Whalen (Westwood, Mass.) made nine saves as Babson College defeated visiting Wheaton College 8-4 in a pivotal Pilgrim League men's lacrosse contest at MacDowell Field on Thursday afternoon.
With its second consecutive win, Babson moves to 7-6 overall and 3-0 in the Pilgrim League while Wheaton drops to 5-6 overall and 2-1 in conference play.
Junior Alex Packer (Hudson, Ohio) and senior Mike Griffin (Duxbury, Mass.) each had two goals and one assist, and senior Alex Patinkin (Providence, R.I.) added a goal and a pair of assists for the Beavers. Sophomore Matthew Hillman (Brookline, Mass.) earned game-high honors with three goals for the Lyons.
Babson opened the scoring just seven seconds into the game as sophomore Phil Russo (Middleton, Mass.) won the opening face-off and fed Low in front of the cage for a 1-0 lead. The teams both struggled to get settled following the opening score, combining for 11 turnovers in the opening eight and a half minutes, and despite a 14-3 advantage in first quarter shots, the Beavers were unable to stretch their lead until late in the stanza thanks to six early stops from Wheaton junior goalie Harrison Bramhall (Barrington, R.I.).
Low finally extended the advantage for Babson, converting a feed from Griffin following a Lyons' turnover to go ahead 2-0 with 1:56 to go, and just over a minute later, Low completed the hat trick, burying a pass from Packer with 48 seconds left in the period for a 3-0 bulge.
Wheaton opened the second quarter scoring, cutting the lead to 3-1 as Hillman scored off a feed from first-year Alex Keiver (North Andover, Mass.) at the 9:10 mark to break a drought of nearly 21 minutes. Babson wasted little time in regaining a three-goal advantage, though, as Packer scored just 10 seconds later, finishing the goal of the game in transition off a diagonal pass from Patinkin to make it 4-1. Griffin gave the hosts its biggest lead of the half at 5-1 at the 2:57 mark, but Hillman answered for Wheaton just 1:32 before the break to make the score 5-2 at halftime.
Babson's defense continued to impose its will on Wheaton throughout much of the third quarter, killing off three different penalties in the opening seven minutes of the stanza. The Beavers then caught a break when Packer scored his second goal of the day, beating Bramhall to a groundball just outside of the crease, and tipping it into the open net for a 6-2 lead with less than five minutes to go in the quarter.
The Lyons, who got 18 saves on the day from Bramhall, kept contact, finally taking advantage of a man-up opportunity when first-year Kyle Rumberger (Hyannis, Mass.) tallied with 54 seconds left in the third quarter, cutting the Babson lead to 6-3. The Lyons then killed off a pair of penalties in the fourth quarter and pulled within two on Hillman's third goal of the day with 2:56 to go in the game.
After killing a penalty with a big save from Whalen following the Hillman goal, the Beavers put the game away for good with goals from Griffin and Patinkin in the final 64 seconds for the final margin.
Babson held a 50-21 advantage in shots, a 51-37 edge in groundballs and forced 33 Wheaton turnovers. Russo won 11-of-15 face-offs for the Beavers and collected a game-high eight groundballs while sophomore Christian Cattaruzza (Guilford, Conn.) caused a game-high four turnovers. Bramhall and senior Jack Crossdale (Manchester, N.H.) each collected six groundballs for the Lyons.
Babson is back in action when they host Regis College on Friday afternoon at 5:00pm while Wheaton will host Springfield College at 1:00pm on Saturday afternoon.