NORTHAMPTON, Mass.—The Babson College women's soccer scored twice early in the first half and again early in the second half to build a three-goal lead before hanging on for a 3-2 victory over Smith College in a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference match in Northampton this afternoon. Sophomore Stefani Paulinelli (Weston, Fla.) and junior Amy Festa (Medfield, Mass.) tallied first half goals two minutes apart, and Festa added another tally early in the second half for the Beavers, who have won six straight games and hold an eight-game unbeaten streak. Kelly Hanly (Cortland Manor, NY) and Jessica DiPhilippo (Falmouth, Maine) each chipped in with an assist.
A slow starting game revved into action when the Beavers scored twice in the span of two minutes. A defensive miscue by Smith left the ball at the feet of Paulinelli, who beat Pioneer 'keeper Lindsey Gregor from the edge of the box at the 17:00 mark. Babson made it 2-0 shortly thereafter - Mike Cucullo (South Salem, NY) forced Gregor into a save, and from the resulting corner kick, Festa headed home the service from Hanly.
Babson carried their 2-0 lead into halftime, holding a 9-2 lead in shots. Festa got her second goal of the day putting the Beavers up 3-0, five minutes into the second half when DiPhilippo played a pass through the penalty area, and Festa was on hand to tap it in. Babson would need it as well, as Smith would proceed to press for the rest of the half. The Pioneers kept attacking, and were rewarded with 13 minutes to go. Meredith Peck's shot rebounded off the post, and when the rebound fell to her feet, she slid the ball to Ellie Theurer who hooked the ball over the head of Babson goalie Lisa Wojnar (Bellaire, Texas) to cut the lead to 3-1.
Smith set up a nervy finish 10 minutes later, when Kaitlin Johnson played a pass over the Babson defense to Theurer, who beat the offside trap and slid the ball past Wojnar for her second goal of the game, making it a 3-2 with 2:30 left to play. The Pioneers pressed for an equalizer, but could not beat Wojnar again. Babson had only given up three goals in their previous eight games before this contest.
Gregor made four saves for Smith, the most critical of which was a stop on DiPhilippo in the 66th minute when she closed down the Babson striker on the edge of the area to keep the game at 3-0. Wojnar made three saves for Babson.
Smith (1-5, 0-2 NEWMAC) will return to action when they host Westfield State on Wednesday, September 28 at 4 p.m. Babson (7-1-1, 2-0 NEWMAC) returns to action next Saturday, when they meet NEWMAC foe WPI at 1:00pm in Babson Park.