Babson Tops Wheaton in Pilgrim Semifinals

BABSON PARK, Mass. Second-seeded Babson received goals from 13 different players on their way to an 18-9 victory over third-seeded Wheaton in the semifinal round of the 2011 Pilgrim League tournament at MacDowell Field on Wednesday night. With the win, Babson (10-7) advances to its first conference final since 2001 and will head to top-seeded Springfield College for the championship game on Saturday at 1:00 p.m.

Leading the balanced Babson attack was senior captain Armand Wilson (Fairfield, Conn.), who scored a game-high four goals while also adding five groundballs. Sophomore Jamie Schmidt (Shelburne, Vt.) and first-year Mike McStravock (Windham, N.H.) each added two goals in the win, and sophomore Alex Patinkin (Providence, R.I.) contributed one goal and three assists. Sophomore Mike Griffin (Duxbury, Mass.) finished a strong all-around effort with one goal, two assists, and a game-high nine groundballs, first-year Ryan Dawidjan (Worcester, Mass.) posted one goal, seven groundballs, and four caused turnovers, and sophomore goalies Jay Whalen (Westwood, Mass.) and Ryan Lee (Wallingford, Conn.) each finished with six saves in net.

Wheaton (3-11) also featured a balanced offense, with eight different players accounting for their nine scores. Senior Chris Landers (Manchester, Mass.) led the way with two goals and one assist, while junior Billy McNamara (Mansfield, Mass.) led all players with six points on one goal and five assists. Senior Cody Powers (Scarborough, Maine) paced the Lyon defense with five groundballs and five caused turnovers, and first-year Jesse O'Neil (Charlestown, Mass.) finished with 12 saves in net.

A closely-contested first quarter saw Babson snap a 2-2 tie with back-to-back strikes by McStravock and Wilson just eight seconds apart near the three-minute mark, giving the Beavers took a 4-2 lead after one. Wheaton junior Mike Harrington (Sturbridge, Mass.) then converted a feed from classmate Charlie Willauer (Duxbury, Mass.) to make it a 4-3 affair with 13:25 left in the second, but that would prove to be the Lyons' final tally of the quarter as Babson rattled off six consecutive goals to close the half. Wilson found the back of the net twice during the run, while Patinkin, senior captain Andrew Packer (Hudson, Ohio), Dawidjan, and Schmidt also scored to give the hosts a commanding 10-3 lead at the break.

Wheaton threatened for the final time when Landers, Willauer, and sophomore Greg Smith (Centerport, N.Y.) all netted goals during a 3-2 run that cut the deficit to 12-6 over the first seven minutes of the third. Babson then put the game away by scoring four of the next five markers, capped by a man-up strike by Schmidt that made it 16-7 with 12:50 left in the fourth. Wheaton would get two late goals by senior Corey Best (Brentwood, Tenn.) and Landers, but McStravock scored his second of the day and first-year Craig Jerabeck (Pittsford, N.Y.) added his first collegiate goal in the final two minutes as Babson ran away with the 18-9 win.

The semifinal victory marked the Beavers' first in a conference tournament since 2001 the same year the team last appeared in the Pilgrim League Finals. Babson fell to Springfield, 14-3, in the championship game that season.


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