BABSON PARK, Mass. – Babson College first-year Sam Sulliman (Rye, N.Y.) scored the go-ahead goal on a free position with 7.3 seconds remaining in regulation and the potential tying goal was waved off at the buzzer as the Beavers held on for a dramatic 10-9 victory over visiting Springfield College in a battle of New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) unbeatens on Saturday afternoon.
With the win, Babson, ranked 10th in the nation by the IWLCA, clinched their second consecutive regular season conference title as they improved to 12-2 overall and 5-0 in the conference. It was the third regular season crown in program history for the Beavers, who secured the top seed and a first-round bye in the upcoming NEWMAC Tournament regardless of the outcome of next weekend’s game at Mount Holyoke. Meanwhile, the Pride slipped to 8-5 overall and 4-1 in the NEWMAC, and will enter the conference tourney as the second seed.
Sophomore Kaitlyn Pettengill (Hopkinton, Mass.) scored three goals to pace Babson, while junior Jackie Godfrey (Franklin, Mass.) added two goals and one assist. Senior tri-captain Anita Martignetti (Winchester, Mass.) contributed one goal, three assists, three groundballs, and five draw controls in the win, and junior Lindsay Bucci (Medford, Mass.) tossed in a pair of goals. First-year Sarah Macary (Woodbury, Conn.) went the distance in net for the Beavers, finishing with nine saves.
Springfield received four goals apiece from junior Erin Doolan (Blauvelt, N.Y.) and sophomore Alexandra Bazzano (Newington, Conn.), with Doolan also dishing out an assist for a game-high five points. Sophomore Jennifer Zubkus (Dover, N.H.) added one goal for the Pride, junior Heather Dobson (Longmeadow, Mass.) posted two assists, and sophomore goalie Lauren McAuley (Yorktown, N.Y.) recorded 10 saves in net.
Doolan scored two goals in the final six minutes of the first half to snap a 2-2 tie and give Springfield a 4-2 edge at the break. Bazzano then struck just three minutes into the second half to give the visitors the largest lead of the game for either team, 5-2.
Babson pulled within one with goals by Martignetti and sophomore Anna Collins (Winchester, Mass.), but Bazzano netted her third of the game on a free position with 23:47 remaining to push the Pride’s lead to 6-4. Pettengill and Bucci then netted consecutive scores for Babson to tie the game at 6-6 with 21:25 left, and neither team led by more than one the rest of the way.
With the score tied at 7-7 with just under 10 minutes to play, Bazzano netted her fourth to give Springfield it’s final lead, 8-7. Godfrey then rattled off two straight scores at 7:51 and 6:15 to move the Beavers back in front, but Doolan scored off a Dobson feed with 2:12 on the clock to once again knot the contest at 9-9.
After Babson ran more than 90 seconds off the clock, Sulliman took the ball at the top of the circle and drove to the net. A Springfield defender was whistled for a foul on the play, and Sulliman converted the ensuing free position attempt to give Babson a 10-9 lead with 7.3 remaining on the clock. Pride first-year Meaghan Dobson (Longmeadow, Mass.) then made a quick catch on the draw, sprinted into the Babson zone, and put a shot past Macary, but the horn sounded just before the ball left the rookie’s stick as Babson held on for the 10-9 victory.
As the top seed, Babson will host the NEWMAC Tournament for the second straight year. Last spring, they won their first ever Conference Championship and NCAA Tournament berth. The official bracket for the 2008 tourney will be released by the conference following next weekend’s regular season finales.