The sixth-seeded Wheaton College women’s soccer team defeated the third-seeded Babson Beavers 1-0 during the quarterfinals of the NEWMACs. The game took place on Nov. 1 and started with Babson taking control, shooting multiple balls on Wheaton goalie Leanne Wolf ’19.
However, during the 74th minute, captain Brooke Collard ’17 headed the ball into the goal off of a perfectly placed corner kick from Carly Costello ’18. The game ended 16 minutes later with a win for Wheaton that clenched it a spot in the semifinals on Saturday, Nov. 5.
Captain Megan Healy ’18 said that her team had the determination to make it all happen for them. “With Babson knocking us out of the semifinals in the NEWMACs last year, we went into the game knowing this was our second chance. For us, it was our time for revenge. We played with a lot of heart that game, knowing it was our turn to knock Babson out of the NEWMACs,” Healy said.
The Wheaton Lyons played against MIT during the semifinals in Worcester, MA. While the MIT Engineers dominated offensively on the field, the Wheaton Lyons put up a tough defensive fight. MIT had 15 shots on goal while Wheaton had one.
MIT scored its first goal during the first half at 25:23 and later scored its second goal in the second half at 83:29, finishing the game with a 2-0 win over the Wheaton women’s soccer team. The loss of the game for Wheaton meant the end of the season for the women. They finished their season with an overall score of 14 wins, six losses and two ties.
Reflecting on their season, the players were discouraged with the ending but were adamant about seeing the positive that came out of the season. “It was disappointing to lose in the semifinals and not be able to reach our overall goal but our team made huge improvements this season,” Costello said.
Costello went on to note that, as a junior, she was excited to see what her final season would bring next fall; however, as all teams will, it was clear that they would miss their seniors. “The seniors on our team will be missed, and we all wish them the best with their future. They have made a huge impact to this program, and they have been great mentors to our team,” Costello said.
The Wheaton College men’s soccer team competed against the United States Coast Guard Academy team. Wheaton went into the game as the fourth-seed while Coast Guard was seeded fifth. With only 22 seconds on the clock, the Coast Guard Bears seized the first goal with a breakaway coming from the opposite end line.
Less than nine minutes later, Louis Chavez ’18 crossed the ball to Roni Diniz ’20 who scored his 14th goal of the season. Kevin Davis ’17 scored the second and third goal of the game, winning the game for the Lyons 3-1.
With the win against Coast Guard, Wheaton men’s soccer advanced to the semifinals which was played on Saturday, Nov. 5, against the Babson Beavers. Within minutes of the start of the game, the Beavers scored. 11 minutes later, Amara Sesay ’18 drilled the ball to the back of the net, tying the game 1-1. The score remained even, forcing players to go into double overtime.
For the past two years, Wheaton has lost to Babson in the NEWMACs; with that in mind, the men were determined to end this streak. With the stands full of blue, and the motivation to win embedded in the players’ hearts, Wheaton came out dominating the field during overtime. Diniz scored off a rebound of Sesay’s shot with 6:17 remaining during the second period of overtime.
Looking back, the players contribute their success not only to their skills as a team, but also to their fans in the stands. “We have never played in an atmosphere like that. Between the support coming from our Wheaton fans and our determination to beat Babson on their home turf, it was impossible for us to lose,” captain Sean Hurlburt ’18 said.
The win against Babson pushed the Lyons to advance to the NEWMAC Championship in which the men went up against the Springfield College Pride. With a crowd of fans even bigger than that at the game the previous day, the Lyons came out with the determination to win. While the Wheaton men stayed motivated, the calls made were not in the Lyons’ favor.
18 minutes into the game, Wheaton had a penalty called on it inside the box which resulted in a penalty kick for Springfield. Springfield’s player, Brad Deckel, shot and scored in the bottom left corner of the net. 10 minutes later, Springfield scored on themselves when attempting to deflect Sesay’s free kick away from the goal, tying the score 1-1.
Despite the Lyons’ effort, Springfield went on to score two more goals, one at the end of the first half and one 10 minutes before the end of the game. It finished with a 3-1 loss for Wheaton, ending the 2016 season for men’s soccer.