Tango's Late Goal Helps the Beavers' Reach the Program's First Championship Weekend
BABSON PARK, Mass.—Sophomore Ashley Tango (Reading, Mass.) broke a scoreless deadlock with 6:46 remaining in regulation to lift seventh-ranked Babson College to a 1-0 win over eighth-ranked Franklin & Marshall College in an NCAA Tournament Quarterfinal on Sunday afternoon at MacDowell Field.
With its ninth straight victory, Babson (21-2) advances to the NCAA Division III Final Four next weekend at William Smith College in Geneva, N.Y. The Beavers also become the first women's program in school history to reach the national semifinals in any sport. Franklin & Marshall, which was making its first national quarterfinal appearance since 1992, sees its season come to a close at 16-5.
In a tight, defensive battle, the Green and White made the most of its fourth and final penalty corner of the second half. Sophomore Lauren Drakeley (Woodbury, Conn.) took an insert pass from junior Elise Towers (Cicero, N.Y.) and played the ball to her right for Tango, who took a touch before drilling a shot inside the left post for her 18th marker of the season.
The Babson defense, which gave up just one second-half shot, did not allow the Diplomats to get into the circle over the final six minutes of regulation. The Beavers have now shut out five straight opponents and recorded their 15th clean sheet of the year on Sunday, which leads all Division III teams.
Franklin & Marshall had the better scoring opportunities in the first half, but twice Babson came up big to keep the game scoreless. First-year goalkeeper Deirdre Barry (Longmeadow, Mass.) made a kick save on first-year Erin Coverdale (Lewes, Del.) in the 25th minute and senior Nicole Smith (Barrington, R.I.) cleared a shot by junior Sydney Cole (Greenwich, Conn.) off the goal line with 6:45 left in the opening period.
Diplomats' sophomore goalkeeper Ilianna Santangelo (Sudbury, Mass.) made her best save of the afternoon in the 58th minute, diving to her right to push away a shot from the center of the arc by sophomore Catherine Gilman (Cohasset, Mass.).
Barry finished with one save for the Green and White, while Santangelo stopped two shots for the Diplomats.
The Beavers held a 10-6 edge in shots, which included an 8-1 bulge in the second half, and a 6-5 advantage in penalty corners.
Babson will face top-ranked Messiah in the national semifinals at a time to be determined next Saturday in Geneva, N.Y.
• The Beavers are now 2-0 all-time against Centennial Conference foes with their other win coming against Johns Hopkins on September 10, 2011.
• Babson is 11-2 at MacDowell Field this season and has won 19 of 22 contests at home over the last two years.
• Barry set a new single-season record for victories by a goalkeeper with her 20th of the year on Sunday, passing Elissa Slovin, who won 19 games in 2005.
• Tango's 49 points this fall are tied for the sixth most in a single season.
• The Beavers are now 4-2 this season in games decided by a single goal.