WORCESTER, Mass.--Senior forward Mika Cucullo (South Salem, N.Y.) registered the first multi-goal game of her career, helping visiting Babson College to a hard-fought, 2-1, win over Clark University in New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) women's soccer action on Saturday afternoon at the Granger Soccer Complex.
The victory helped Babson snap a three-game winless streak and move to 8-3-3 overall and 3-2-2 in conference play, while Clark dropped its third consecutive match to fall to 4-10-0 overall and 1-5-0 in the league.
Babson had a fantastic chance to take an early lead in the 12th minute when junior Jessica DiPhilippo (Falmouth, Maine) took a through ball at the top of the box and found herself one-on-one with Cougar keeper Gabby Paolini (North Potomac, Md.). DiPhilippo, however, saw her shot sail wide right and the game remained scoreless.
The Beavers eventually broke through in the 25th minute when junior Jenny Moore (Duxbury, Mass.) set up Cucullo for her third marker of the season.
Clark answered back almost immediately, when Janelle Pasternack (North Brookfield, Mass.) was on the attack in the Babson zone. She cut across the top of the box and fired a shot that just nicked off of the fingertips of the Beavers' junior goalkeeper Melina Kapotsis (Watertown, Mass.) and into the net at 28:25.
The Cougars looked to be in prime position to take the lead in the final two minutes of the half when Tricia Wise (Providence, R.I.) broke through the defense, but her attempt sailed high and wide at 43:13.
Babson had a great scoring chance go by in the 58th minute when a free kick by sophomore Kristina Simonson (Easton, Mass.) banged off the crossbar and the ball bounced right to classmate Nikki Beatham (Pittsford, N.Y.) but her header attempt was stopped by Paolini.
Cucullo went back to work in the 72nd minute when a free kick was called after an infraction by Clark. Simonson softly touched a pass to an unguarded Cucullo who took a few steps and floated a ball into the upper left corner, giving the Beavers a 2-1 lead.
The Cougars best scoring chance came in the 88th minute when a scramble out in front of the goal saw Charlotte Mays (Melrose, Mass.) collect the ball just outside the six-yard box. Her blast from point blank range was turned away by Kapotsis with an incredible leaping, diving stop at 87:15, preserving the win.
Babson held a 14-13 edge in shots, but the Cougars had a 6-2 advantage in corner kicks – including a 5-1 difference in the final 45 minutes.
Both teams are back in action with NEWMAC contest on Tuesday. The Beavers host Emerson at 3:30 p.m., while Clark has a home date with Wellesley at 6:00 p.m.
Game Notes: Babson is now 15-8-3 all-time against Clark and has gone 8-2-2 against the Cougars since 2006...The Beavers are 8-0-0 on the season when scoring two goals or more against an opponent...The Green and White is 2-0-3 on the year when the game is tied at halftime...Babson has conceded just four goals in seven conference matches this season.
Note: Portions of this release courtest of Clark University.