BABSON PARK, Mass. – Junior Hana Chamoun (Bala Cynwyd, Pa.) scored the game's lone goal midway through the second half and later added a game-saving defensive play in the closing minutes to lead fifth-seeded Clark University to a 1-0 upset victory over fourth-seeded Babson College in the quarterfinal round of the 2011 New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Women's Soccer Tournament at Babson's Hartwell-Rogers Field on Wednesday afternoon.
With the win, the Cougars (7-8-3) advance to Saturday's semifinal round at top-seeded Springfield, where they will take on the host Pride at noon. Meanwhile, Babson sees its outstanding 2011 season come to an unfortunate end with a record of 11-5-2.
Both teams had strong but sporadic chances in the scoreless first half. Clark nearly jumped in front in the seventh minute of play, when sophomore midfielder Emma Lynch's (Pawtucket, R.I.) cross from the left side squirted out of the hands of Babson senior captain Lisa Wojnar (Bellaire, Texas) near the right post. Cougars' sophomore Janelle Pasternack (North Brookfield, Mass.) was able to poke a shot past the diving keeper, but her shot went wide right.
Babson's best chance of the opening period came on a free kick following a Clark foul 10 yards outside of the box. Junior Amy Festa (Medfield, Mass.) sent the ball wide to classmate Nichole Vargas (Warren, R.I.), who hit a cross deep into the box from the left side. Sophomore Mike Cucullo (South Salem, N.Y.) redirected it toward the net with a waist-high one-timer in front, but her shot drifted just over the crossbar at 41:15.
The Cougars finally snapped the scoreless deadlock in the 67th minute, beginning when sophomore Afra Danai (Amherst, Mass.) gained possession of a punt at midfield, carried the ball down the right side, and sent a long cross into the box. Wojnar came off the line to intercept, but Chamoun won the race to the ball and poked a shot into the wide open net for her fourth goal of the season at 66:49.
Babson nearly tied it with just over two minutes left, starting with the team's lone corner kick of the game. Junior Kelly Hanly (Cortlandt Manor, N.Y.) sent it into a crowd in front of the net, where Festa charged in and hit a shot from within eight yards. The ball made it past a charging Eisemann, but Chamoun was there to clear the ball off the goal line on what would prove to the Beavers' final threat of the contest. The Cougars were able to keep the ball out of their defensive zone for the final two minutes of play as they finished off the 1-0 victory.
Eisemann made four saves in net for Clark, while Wojnar stopped two shots in the final game of her brilliant career for Babson.