BABSON PARK, MASS., November 6, 2005 -- Springfield College junior midfielder Janna Prachniak (Lincoln, R.I.) scored the game-winning goal with 4:18 left in the first overtime to lead the second-seeded Pride to a thrilling 2-1 victory over top-seeded Babson College in the championship game of the 2005 New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Tournament on Sunday afternoon. With the win, SC (20-2), ranked 10th in the nation, claimed its second-straight conference championship and an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament. Babson (18-5), which entered the game ranked 16th in the country, will now await a possible at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament later on Sunday.
In a magnificently played contest, SC took a 1-0 lead with 5:53 remaining in the first half, as senior Alisha Miner (Sanbornton, N.H.) was awarded a penalty stroke after a Pride shot hit a Babson defender in the goal mouth. Miner then placed a perfect shot over first-year goalie Elissa Slovin’s outstretched arm and into the upper left corner for the game’s first goal.
Babson tied the game just before the break, as senior tri-captains Elise Conley and Katie Janson put their team on the board with 35.4 seconds remaining. Conley took a penalty corner push from sophomore Annie Pease and tipped it to Janson, who immediately fed the ball back to Conley. The nation’s leading scorer then hit a sweeping shot into the lower right corner for her 30th goal of the season, knotting the game at 1-1.
Both teams had scoring chances in the first overtime period, but it was SC that would claim the victory when Prachniak gathered a loose ball at the top of the circle and ripped a shot just inside the right post with 4:18 remaining. It was the sophomore’s first goal of the season, and it gave the Pride their second-straight conference title and fourth since they joined the NEWMAC back in 1998.
Slovin was spectacular in net for Babson, making nine saves, including a number of stellar diving stops in the second half and in overtime. Sophomore Emma Kaplan (Ridgefield, Conn.) turned away one shot in net to earn the win for SC, as the Pride improves to 8-0 this season in overtime contests. SC has now won 10 games in a row and 18 of its last 19 contests heading into NCAA Division III Tournament action. The seedings for the NCAA Championship will be announced early Monday morning (Nov. 7).