BABSON PARK, Mass. – Kristy Benoit scored the game's only goal to lift Babson College to a thrilling 1-0 victory over visiting MIT in the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) finale on Saturday.
With the victory, Babson (11-6-1 overall, 6-2-1 NEWMAC) clinches the second seed and a first-round bye in next week's conference tournament, and will head to Springfield College for the semifinals next Saturday. Meanwhile, MIT (13-3-1 overall, 6-2-1), ranked sixth in New England in the most recent NSCAA/HendrickCars.com Regional Poll, will enter the tourney as the third seed and will host Wellesley in the first round on Tuesday, November 2.
After missing Babson's last 15 games with an injury, Benoit made her first appearance since September 4. The veteran midfielder made an immediate impact when she netted the game's lone goal less than four minutes into the contest. Junior Bridget McCurdy lofted a cross from the right corner into the box, where Ellen McCurdy redirected it to the left side. Benoit then poked it past diving goalie Meghan Wright and into the center of the net for her first goal of the season and the sixth of her career at 3:38.
From there, the game would rest on the shoulders of junior goalie Lisa Wojnar and the Babson defense, which held off a pressing MIT attack that mounted a 17-8 shot advantage in the contest. Wojnar made the biggest of her four first-half stops with a diving denial of MIT junior Alisha Lussiez's close-range bid in the 23rd minute, and then turned away three more shots in the second half to give her seven saves in the game. Among those were a brilliant lunging save to her left on a rocket by senior Lauren Hernley at 58:42 and a deflection of a long drive by first-year Samantha Fleischmann at the 87-minute mark.
MIT had one final scoring opportunity with 2:30 remaining in regulation, but Wojnar leapt over sophomore forward Emily Kuo to make a clean catch of a dangerous serve to help the Beavers clinch the 1-0 victory.
The shutout was Wojnar's eighth of the season, while Wright finished with four stops in defeat for MIT.
Release Courtesy Babson Sports Information