In the world of sports, sometimes taking down the best team on the field is the greatest feeling. When the Springfield College Women’s Lacrosse team squared off against the dominant Babson College squad, that was exactly what they set out to do.
“We hadn’t beaten Babson in a long time,” Head Coach Kristen Mullady explained.
In fact, it wasn’t just Springfield that struggled to defeat Babson, it was the entire New England Men’s and Women’s Athletic Conference. Babson hadn’t had a regular season NEWMAC loss since 2006, when they fell to Wellesley, 14-11. They were a powerhouse running over anyone in their way.
Springfield came into the contest with a 5-2 record. Their last win had been a 15-9 defeat of Plymouth State. The Beavers rolled into the game on a bit of a cold streak, with a 3-5 record. With momentum clearly being on Springfield’s side, it seemed like the perfect time for the Pride to get its first win against Babson in five years.
Unlike the weather, which sat around 40 degrees, Springfield started off hot, jumping out to an early 3-1 lead just 21 minutes in (behind two goals from Nicole Soucie and another from Jackie Moscardelli). They would then go on to take a 5-2 lead, but it would not last long, as the Tigers went on a 7-0 run heading into the half.
Kelly Gallo was able to stop the bleeding with a laser to make it 9-6 as the first half ended.
Heading into halftime trailing one of the strongest teams in the conference is never a place a team wants to be, but Coach Mullady’s team had been averaging 12 goals per contest, and were surely looking to add to their six already scored.
As the second half began to move along, hope seemed to start to fade for Springfield. Babson’s lead grew to 11-8 with around 20 minutes left in the game. Springfield looked down, but certainly not out. In just minutes, the rally began.
“We were losing by a decent amount,” Mullady said, “But we came back to tie the game.” With 12 minutes left in regulation, a Moscardelli strike (assisted by Meagan Dobson, who scored four goals and assisted on four shots) brought Springfield within one goal at.
With less than two minutes left, Colleen Mulligan would give Babson a two-goal lead – but it wouldn’t last for long. Springfield put together a late-game rally with goals from Dobson and Meghan Flanagan to tie the game at 13 and send the match into overtime.
The first overtime was quiet for both teams, as neither were able to score a goal. In fact, there were a mere two total shots on goal between both teams in the first set of overtime. The second overtime proved to be the same. Aside from a crossbar hit from Babson, the scoring chances were limited, and a third overtime was needed.
In the third overtime, the stakes were high. Fatigue was setting in, but both teams were grinding it out for a win. Unlike the first two overtime periods, a decisive, sudden-death goal came quickly at 55 seconds in. After a Babson turnover, Dobson was able to scoop up the ball and send a strike to the back of the cage giving Springfield the 14-13 win.
“It was just memorable because we hadn’t done that in so long,” Mullady explained. Three years later, the thrilling win was still a great memory in her eyes. “Just seeing all the hard work we put in that season paid off. We had a ton of fans at that game, so having the support was great to help us win in overtime.”
Springfield would go on to make it to the NEWMAC Tournament Finals that season, only to lose to Babson, 19-7. While they would have liked to find a sweeter ending, their 11-6 record was more than impressive, especially their triple-overtime win against the very team they would go on to lose to just a month later. Nobody would agree with that more than Mullady.
Shawn McFarland can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org