With the win, Babson advances to Sunday’s championship game at 1 p.m. versus either second-seeded MIT or third-seeded Wheaton College. The Engineers and Lyons meet in Saturday’s second semifinal game at 1:30 p.m. Meanwhile, the loss drops Springfield’s record to 12-8-1.
The Beavers netted the game’s lone goal in the closing minutes of the first half, beginning when junior Jimmy Stento gained possession deep in the left corner. The veteran midfielder lofted a cross to the far post, where a charging Rust headed it into the upper right corner for his first career goal at 41:06.
After being outshot, 8-6, in the first half, Springfield turned up the offensive pressure in the second, firing 10 shot attempts to Babson’s five. The Pride nearly tied the contest in the opening three minutes of the stanza, but a bid from the top of the box by first-year Ryan Malone sailed just wide of the right post.
Springfield’s best chance to score came in the 78th minute, beginning when sophomore Sean Nunan’s shot was blocked in front. The rebound then trickled out to first-year Michael Fowler, who chipped a shot toward the left side of the net. However, Babson junior Peter Crowley made a spectacular diving save to his right to keep the visitors off the board.
Crowley added his fourth and final save on a header by Fowler with under five minutes left, and Springfield sophomore David Chessen’s desperation attempt with 20 seconds left sailed wide of the right post as Babson held on for the 1-0 victory.
Crowley and Springfield sophomore Chris Walton each finished with four saves in their respective nets.