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Field Hockey Roars Past Babson, 6-3, to Advance to NEWMAC Championship

Katie Gill Box Score

Babson Park, Mass. - Nov. 3, 2012 - First-year midfielder Katie Gill scored three goals and added an assist as fourth-seeded Springfield College upset top-seeded Babson College, 6-3, in a New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) field hockey semifinal contest on Saturday afternoon at MacDowell Field.

With the victory, Springfield moves to 10-9 on the season and advances to Sunday afternoon’s NEWMAC championship game, while Babson sees its season come to an end at 14-5.

Junior Kelly Gallo, Springfield’s leading scorer entering the afternoon, scored twice and picked up an assist, while senior Meghan McHugh chipped in with a goal and an assist in the victory.

Junior Julia Pochini and sophomores Caroline Malone and Soozin Kang scored for Babson, who played without injured junior standout Morgan Lockwood, the team’s leading scorer.

“This is probably the best we’ve played all season,” explained head coach Melissa Sharpe. "“We had key players from front to back step up, and every time we went on the attack we had a great chance of scoring."

Gill opened the scoring for the Pride just over 15 minutes into the contest, taking a long pass from first-year midfielder Libby Hart to the front of the cage and beating Babson junior goalkeeper Kayla Florence for a 1-0 lead. Springfield pushed their lead to 2-0 just 3:20 before halftime when Gallo collected a loose ball in the center of the arc after a deflection and hit a hard shot from eight yards out for her 13th goal of the season.

The Beavers’ best chance of the first half came just 2:29 into the contest when Malone stole the ball at midfield and broke in alone on Pride first-year goalkeeper Timarie Villa. Villa came charging off her line, and Malone, who pushed the ball to her left, hit a diving shot that went just wide off the outside of the cage.

Springfield pushed its advantage to 3-0 just 4:51 after halftime as Gill scored her second goal of the afternoon, taking a long pass from McHugh, and tucking a shot inside the left. Malone got the Beavers on the board at 45:11, as she took a pass from Pochini in front of the goal and spun to beat Villa, cutting the lead to 3-1.

The visiting Pride wouldn't allow Babson to draw any closer as Springfield used three goals in a span of 7:43 to break the game open. McHugh scored her 10th goal of the season at 48:15 of a long pass from Gill to regain a three-goal lead, before Gill and Gallo scored their third and second goals of the game, respectively, 2:46 apart to give the Pride their biggest lead of the contest at 6-1 with 14:02 remaining.

Pochini drew the Beavers within 6-2 with her sixth tally of the season on a long shot from just inside the arc, and Holmes capped the scoring with her second goal of the year, redirecting a Kang pass inside with a sweeping shot inside the left post with 3:34 to go in the match.

Villa made four saves for the Pride, who will make their eighth NEWMAC title game appearance overall, and first since 2009 on Sunday. Florence made three stops in 55:58 for Babson before giving way to first-year Kayla Costa, who made two saves over the game’s final 14:02.

The Pride held an 18-12 advantage in shots while Babson attempted five penalty corners to Springfield’s four. Springfield will meet second-seeded MIT for the NEWMAC championship and an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament on Sunday afternoon at 12:30pm.

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Head Coach Melissa Sharpe

Melissa Sharpe After nine years as head coach of the Pride, Melissa Sharpe has continued the tradition of winning on the field hockey turf, posting an impressive 130-68 record, good for a winning percentage of .656 at the helm of her alma mater. Read more.

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