Second Half Offensive Explosion Sends Women’s Soccer to the NEWMAC Finals

Ranya Basma

WORCESTER -- Ranya Basma (Shirley, MA) came off the bench to score the only goal of the first half, the Engineers added three more after intermission, and third-seeded WPI blanked seventh-seeded Babson in a NEWMAC Women's Soccer Tournament semifinal contest at a rainy Alumni Stadium on Thursday evening. 

With the win, WPI moves on to its second NEWMAC championship game in the last four years.  The Engineers will head to top seed MIT, a 3-0 winner tonight in the other semifinal, for the title match at 5pm on Saturday. 

The victory was the third straight for the Crimson and Gray, the ninth-ranked team in the latest NCAA Division III New England rankings.  WPI is now 16-4-1 on the season, which equals the most wins in a season in program (2016).  The Beavers, who defeated Coast Guard in a quarterfinal match on Tuesday, see their season end with a 9-9-2 record. 

The match was scoreless for the opening 37 minutes before fellow reserve Caitlin Bonavita (Wilbraham, MA) sent a through ball to Basma, who eluded the Babson goalkeeper and fired in her second goal of 2019.  WPI went ahead 2-0 just five minutes into the second half when Leah Beauton (Colchester, CT) tallied her 13th goal of the season when took a long, high pass from Sofia Orrico (Bethel, CT) and kicked it around the keeper. 

Similar to WPI's quarterfinal triumph Tuesday against Wheaton, the hosts got a pair of goals off of corner kicks.  The first was in the 64th minute when Basma's corner kick found Lauren Kaija's (Reading, CT) head near the far post for Kaija's third goal in the last two games and sixth goal of the season.  Annika Keck (Oakland, CA) closed out the scoring just over two minutes later when she buried her own rebound after a corner by Bonavita.  It too was the third goal of the week for Keck and her fifth of her rookie campaign.     

Mandy St. Germain (Upton, MA) worked the first 69:55 in net for Engineers and posted three saves while Lauren Francis (Natick, MA) also made three stops over the final 20:05.  Morgan Fedosiewich (Ottawa, Ontario) was credited with eight save for the Beavers. 

For the match, WPI held a 18-4 edge in shots and attempted six of the nine corner kicks.