NORTON, Mass. – Junior Sean Doherty (East Lyme, Conn./East Lyme) tied his career-high with three goals to lead the No. 2 seed Wheaton College men's lacrosse team to a 7-5 win over No. 3 seed Babson College in the Pilgrim League Semifinals Wednesday afternoon at Mirrione Stadium.
Sophomore Harrison Bramhall (Barrington, R.I./Barrington) recorded 19 saves for the Lyons, who established a new program record with their 11th win of the season under first-year head coach Jamie Lockard. With the win, Wheaton (11-4) advances to the finals for the fifth time in the last seven seasons and will face the winner of No. 1 Springfield/No. 4 MIT Saturday at a time and location TBD.
Freshman Matthew Hillman (Brookline, Mass./Brookline) notched two goals and an assist for Wheaton while senior Charlie Willauer (Duxbury, Mass./Proctor Academy) potted a pair of goals. Junior Jack Croasdale (Manchester, N.H./Kents Hill School) collected a team-high five ground balls, caused three turnovers, and picked up his first point of the season, an assist on Hillman's empty-net goal with 52 seconds remaining in the fourth.
The Beavers led 2-0 after one quarter of play on goals by senior Tom Mallon (Manhasset, N.Y./Manhasset) and junior Alex Patinkin (Providence, R.I./Providence Country Day). Doherty scored Wheaton's first goal against Babson junior goalkeeper James Whalen (Westwood, Mass./Westwood) in 33:54 (dating back to their last meeting on April 18) 1:21 into the second quarter to cut the Beavers lead in half.
Babson held a 2-1 lead for the next 12 minutes before Willauer potted an unassisted goal with 1:05 remaining in the second to send the game into the break even at two. The Beavers held a 20-15 edge in shots through the first 30 minutes of play.
Wheaton outscored the Beavers 2-1 in the third to take a 4-2 lead. Doherty scored a short-handed goal at 11:03 to give the Lyons their first lead of the afternoon, then scored an even-strength goal at 6:34 to make it 4-2. Patinkin netted his second of the afternoon with Babson up a man with 1:28 to go to send the game to the fourth with the Lyons ahead by one (4-3). The goal snapped a scoreless drought of 34:44 for the Beavers. Bramhall recorded 10 saves in the frame.
The Lyons regained their two-goal lead on Hillman's 26th of the year less than three minutes into the fourth. Babson answered with two goals in 17 seconds to tie the game at five. Following a man-up goal by Patinkin at 9:45, Mallon hit sophomore Brad Bero (Carlisle, Mass./Middlesex School) with a pass for his 17th of the year at 9:28.
Just over one minute later, Willauer tallied what proved to be the game-winner at 8:24. Late in the fourth and with Whalen out of the net for Babson, Croasdale send a long clearing pass from the left side of the Wheaton cage to Hillman, who sealed the win with an empty-netter with 52 ticks left on the clock.
"What we did today was pretty amazing," said Lockard. "Even though we were the No. 2 seed, I thought we were a bit of an underdog. We took that underdog mentality into the game today and grinded it out the same way we did the last time we played them. Babson has a great team, but someone had to go home today. Fortunately, it's us moving on."
Babson (10-7) outshot the Lyons 44-28, went 2-for-6 in man-up situations, forced 23 turnovers, and won 10-of-16 face-offs. Patinkin paced the Beavers with three goals while Mallon notched a goal and two assists. Whalen recorded eight saves to fall to 9-7.