Babson Park, Mass. –- November 5, 2011 -- Second-seeded Springfield College scored twice in a six-minute span late in the second half to erase a 1-0 deficit and defeat third-seeded Wheaton College, 2-1, in the semifinal round of the 2011 New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Men’s Soccer Tournament at Babson College’s Hartwell-Rogers Field on Saturday afternoon.
Wheaton scored the game’s first goal in the 27th minute, as junior Federico Kelly broke down the right wing, cut it back inside, and fired a left-footed rocket inside the right post from 18 yards out for his eighth goal of the season at 26:25.
After nearly tying the game with a header off the crossbar by sophomore Ryan Malone in the 60th minute, Springfield finally knotted the score when junior Danny Amato scored his second of the year at 73:17. First-year Kevin Nowak beat a defender down the right sideline and sent a low cross to the far side, where Amato came sliding in to deflect it just inside the left post to make it 1-1.
The Pride struck again a little more than five minutes later, as first-year Drew Sommer scored a magnificent goal to give his team the lead for the first time in the contest. After gaining possession in the midfield, the freshman forward launched a perfect strike into the upper right corner from 35 yards out at 78:31 to make it 2-1. It was his third marker of the season and would prove to be the game-winner.
Wheaton had two great chances to tie late in regulation, but the Springfield defense came up big on both occasions. Junior Max Swanson headed a shot toward the upper right corner off a cross with 3:30 remaining, but Pride first-year goalie Brett Bascom made a fantastic diving save to his left to knock the ball beyond the post. Then with 40 seconds left, Lyons senior Conor Finn hit a blast off a loose ball at the top of the box, but his bid was blocked by a Springfield defender and cleared to midfield.
Bascom finished with three saves in net for the Pride, while first-year keeper David Delfino turned away three shots in goal for Wheaton.
Springfield will now take on host Babson in Sunday’s championship game at 1 p.m. The top-seeded Beavers advanced to the finals courtesy of a 2-1 victory over fifth-seeded MIT in Saturday’s first semifinal matchup. This will mark the fourth time that the Beavers and Pride have met in NEWMAC Tournament play and the first time in the championship round. Babson has won each of the previous three postseason matchups, as well as the most recent regular season meeting between the two squads back on October 15 at Springfield (3-1).