By Joe Arruda
Babson’s shots seemed to have been magically attracted to the back of the net on Saturday as the Beavers women’s lacrosse team defeated Springfield in the 2021 NEWMAC tournament final, 22-4. On Stagg Field, every shot – it seemed – for the Beavers went in, and the opposite was true for the Pride in its only loss of the season.
The combo was the same and it repeated itself again and again. As Babson penetrated the Pride defense, they were fouled and proceeded to capitalize on free position goals. In the event when there was no foul, the ball still managed its way home. Even twice, when the defense did its job clean, the ball was checked out of a Beaver stick and still was persistent in rolling its way into the net.
In the last meeting of the two teams, the 2021 season opener, fouls plagued the Pride and kept the game close. In that one, an overtime win for Springfield, the offense was able to handle its own due to the boost from senior Kate Sarnacki’s seven goals.
On Saturday, the Beavers were able to capitalize on six of nine free position shots as a result of the 26 fouls from the team in white and maroon. Babson scored 22 goals on 30 shots.
Erin Jayne and Sara O’Connor led the scoring for the Beavers with five and four goals, respectively, heading the team’s goal surge. The tournament’s Most Outstanding Player award was handed to Babson’s Valerie Quinlan who tallied one goal and three assists on the day.
For Springfield, Sarnacki netted two goals and assisted on a goal a piece for classmate Tylor Pichel and junior Katie Martel.
Saturday’s game adds to a rich history between the two teams as it was the fifth consecutive time they met in the NEWMAC tournament championship game. In 2019, Springfield won the game in what was an extremely close contest with a final score of 11-10. With Babson holding the trophy in the middle of Stagg Field, it marks the 14th time in the last 16 conference tournaments where one of the two schools was crowned champion.
Still, reflecting on the year, there is a lot to be proud of.
An undefeated season granted Springfield its seventh regular season conference title in a year when the season was in jeopardy almost every day with the threat of a positive Coronavirus test putting competition at risk. When Spring sports were granted doable after a tremendous amount of work from the school administration and the athletic department, no one would’ve been surprised to see it go unfinished.
Instead, the Pride found its way back into a championship game.
Students gathered wherever they could within viewing distance of Stagg without actually being in attendance, whether it be on the fence in the backyards of the townhouses or along the hill on King Street, to watch the conclusion of what was an improbable season in itself.
Though it wasn’t anyone’s ideal finale, it was much better than how it went down in 2020.
Photo Courtesy of Jack Margaros