For the first time since 2011, the NEWMAC Championship trophy was back in the hands of the men’s varsity soccer team.
Having lost 5-1 in the tournament semifinals last year to Wheaton, the objective of this season was clear from the very beginning: capture the elusive championship. The Beavers (17-5-0) knocked out #5 seed MIT 2-0, #1 Wheaton 2-0, and #3 seed WPI 2-1 en route to the title. “We needed the title back, and we got the job done,” Peter Noppen ‘15 said.
Key to the championship season was captain Justin Laurenzo ‘15, affectionately known as “J-Lo,” the top scorer with 15 goals in 21 starts. An exemplary skipper on the pitch, Lorenzo also led his teammates in the classroom, becoming the first Babson male and second Beaver to ever earn Capital One Academic All-America Honors for sporting a 3.8 GPA. Other important contributors include defenders Andrew Gonzalez ‘16 and Kofi Abankroh ‘17, who helped the team to keep 9 shutouts in 23 games. Midfielders Tyler Carlos ‘16 and Shane Mandel ‘17 combined to provide 15 assists throughout the season.
A pivotal moment in the team’s season occurred on Sept. 27th in Cambridge. Going into a league match against MIT, the Beavers had lost their last two matches, both at home, including a heartbreaking double overtime loss against Coast Guard on homecoming.
The team fell behind and equalized twice in normal time, before Lorenzo scored a dramatic 102th minute winner, delivered from a Carlos free kick. “[This win] was a pivotal moment of our season,” Lorenzo said. The team then picked up form and won 10 of their next 12 matches to bring home the trophy.