Babson Park, Mass. - May 8, 2016 - For the third time in the last five seasons, the Springfield College women's lacrosse team claimed the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Championship, as the Pride defeated top-seeded Babson College, 5-4, on Sunday afternoon at MacDowell Field.
With the win, the Pride, which was the No. 3 seed in the tournament, improves to 14-5 and will advance to play in the NCAA Championship Tournament, and will find out its fate at 9:30 p.m. on Sunday night during the NCAA Selection Show on NCAA.com.
Springfield capped off a remarkable run to win its sixth conference championship in program history, as it defeated No. 6 seed Emerson College, 14-9, before besting No. 2 seed, Wheaton, 9-4, on Saturday in the NEWMAC Semifinals, and top-seeded Babson, 5-4, in the championship game.
For her efforts throughout the entire bracket, junior goalkeeper Gabby Anderson (Mahopac, N.Y.) was named the NEWMAC Women's Lacrosse Tournament's Most Outstanding Player.
The Pride was led to victory by a three-point performance from Heather Raniolo (Yorktown Heights, N.Y.), who notched two goals and one assist in the victory, including a free-position strike with 5:51 remaining to seal the win for the Pride, while sophomore attack Shelby Corsano (Bourne, Mass.) also added a pair of goals in the win. Anderson registered 10 saves in between the pipes and was huge down the stretch in preserving the victory.
Defensively, sophomores Julia Bireley (Franklin, Mass.) and Ann Mahoney (Saratoga Springs, N.Y.) each had a team-best three ground balls, while Bridget Thibodeau (Andover, Mass.) and Mahoney each had two caused turnovers.
In the contest, Babson held a 16-11 advantage in shots, and 6-5 margin in draw controls, while collecting 16 ground balls to the Pride's 13.
Springfield broke the silence with a goal just 4:19 into the contest, when Kristen Steidler (Somers, Conn.) found Corsano on the crease, who tucked a shot past Burger to give the Pride a 1-0 lead, before Heather Raniolo converted a free-position chance with 19:21 left in the first half to push Springfield's lead to a pair.
After a Babson goal from Kayla Farina (Newton, Mass.) with 15:00 to cut the Beavers' deficit in half, the Pride regained its two-goal lead when Heather Raniolo dodged down the wing and fed a cutting Bianca Raniolo (Yorktown Heights, N.Y.), who stuck a shot past Burger to make it 3-1 with 7:49 to play in the stanza.
The Pride had a last-second chance in the half, when Corsano cleared the ball down the left side, and found Heather Raniolo on the crease with under five seconds on the clock, but the senior drilled the crossbar to send the Pride into the break with a 3-1 lead.
Springfield pushed its lead to three just 8:41 into the second half, when Corsano took a feed from Bianca Raniolo and tucked a shot past Burger to make it 4-1, before a pair of goals from Babson made it a 4-3 game with 9:50 to play.
After drawing a foul inside the arch, Heather Raniolo found the back of the net for the second time to give the Pride a 5-3 lead with 5:51 remaining in the contest, providing some insurance for Springfield.
With 30 seconds remaining, Babson converted a free-position chance of its own, but a huge draw control from Corsano helped the Pride seal the win.