Babson Holds On To Defeat WPI, 3-2
BABSON PARK, Mass. – Despite mounting a 24-6 shot advantage, the Babson College women's soccer team needed three key goals and some luck in the closing seconds in order to defeat visiting WPI, 3-2, in a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) contest at Hartwell-Rogers Field on Saturday afternoon.
With their second straight victory, the Beavers improved to 3-4-1 overall and 1-1-0 in the conference, while the Engineers fell to 3-5-0 overall and 0-2-0 in NEWMAC play.
WPI's best chance of the first half came less than six minutes in, when sophomore Meghan Hemond (Nashua, N.H.) redirected a corner kick from junior Megan Forti (Lynn, Mass.) off the left post and out of bounds at 5:53.
From that point on, the first half would belong to the hosts, who mounted a 12-3 shot advantage en route to a 1-0 halftime lead. The Beavers enjoyed a flurry of chances before finally breaking through, beginning when junior Meghan Andrew's (North Easton, Mass.) breakaway bid off a thru-ball by sophomore Jessica DiPhilippo (Falmouth, Maine) was deflected beyond the left post by WPI goalie Maddie Willer (Penfield, N.Y.) at 18:24. DiPhilippo then had a breakaway chance of her own moments later, but her chip shot from 14 yards out drifted over the crossbar at 19:21.
Babson had another fantastic opportunity when senior Kelly Hanly (Cortlandt Manor, N.Y.) hit a long service off a restart that was headed off the crossbar by senior captain Amy Festa (Medfield, Mass.) at 26:56. Festa then collected the rebound with Willer out of net, but her second shot was blocked by sophomore back Alex Dustin (Spencer, Mass.), who had just entered the game moments before.
The Beavers finally snapped the scoreless deadlock at the 34-minute mark, as Festa broke free down the left side and slid a cross to senior captain Ashley Tourso (Glen Rock, N.J.) in the middle of the box. Tourso followed with a quick move on the defender in front of her before lofting a perfect shot into the upper right corner for her third goal of the season at 34:04.
After the low-scoring first half, the two teams combined for four goals in an action-packed second stanza. Babson struck first 13 minutes into the period, as Willer came charging out of net to block a shot by junior Mika Cucullo (South Salem, N.Y.). The rebound then drifted to Cucullo's immediate right, where she blasted it inside the right post for her first goal of the season at 57:06 for a 2-0 Babson cushion.
WPI netted their first marker of the contest in the 64th minute, as Forti gained control on the right wing and sent a cross through the box, there it bounced all the way through before being knocked inside the far post by junior Courtney Langley (Fairfield, Maine) at 63:22. It was Langley's first goal of the year and it cut Babson's lead to 2-1.
The Beavers tacked on what would prove to be a critical insurance goal with a little over 13 minutes remaining, beginning when Cucullo sent a pass from the center of the field to the left side of the box. There it was run down by Festa, who hit a rocket from 15 yards out into the lower right corner for her fourth goal of the campaign at 76:32.
The Engineers once again made it a one-goal game with two and a half minutes left in regulation, as Forti scored her second of the season off a free kick from 25 yards out after a Babson foul on the right side of the field. WPI then had a great chance to tie in the waning seconds, but junior Sarah Sawatzki's (Tacoma, Wash.) open look from 15 yards out sailed just over the crossbar with two seconds remaining as Babson held on for the dramatic 3-2 win.
Willer finished with nine saves in defeat for WPI, while Babson sophomore keeper Melina Kapotsis (Watertown, Mass.) made one stop in goal for the victors.
The Beavers continue their five-game homestand with a 4 p.m. game against Endicott this Tuesday, while WPI comes back east to play at Wentworth on Tuesday at 7 p.m.