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The MIT men’s lacrosse team fell to the Babson Beavers, 15-9, last Saturday in conference play, snapping a three-game winning streak for MIT. The Engineers dropped to 6-6 on the year while Babson improved to 9-4. However, following the loss, the Engineers still control their destiny and can make the conference playoffs by winning their final two games of the regular season, both home contests against Norwich University and Clark University.

The Engineers found themselves in a hole early in the first quarter as Babson jumped out to a 4-0 lead just eight minutes into the game, with two goals coming from attackman James Schmidt, who led Babson in scoring with four goals and an assist. High-pressure defensive and transition play by Babson caught the Engineers off-guard, and MIT was not able to break the shutout until attackman Daniel G. Piemont ’10 found the back of the cage off an assist from midfielder Nicholas D. Sisler ’11 with just over five minutes remaining in the first quarter. Babson answered less than a minute later to bring the score to 5-1. In the waning seconds of the first quarter, Engineers goaltender Christopher B. Rullan ’13 fired an 80-yard bomb on an open net to take advantage of Babson’s aggressive ten-man ride and cut their lead to three points.

But the Engineers were never able to build upon this momentum; Babson answered fourteen seconds into the second quarter with a fast-break goal off the face-off. Tech went on to score twice more in the first two minutes of the quarter before Sisler again fed Piemont for the Engineers’ third and final goal of the half. Babson added one more before the half to bring the score to 9-3.

After a quick halftime speech, the Engineers began to rally and played significantly better in the second half. Although a shaky start allowed Babson to score twice more in the first minute, MIT showed signs of life by possessing the ball and starting a scoring run of their own. Midfielder John R. Kucharczyk ’11 scored unassisted with 12:08 remaining in the quarter, and senior captain Corey Garvey ’10 set up attackman Gabriel V. Blanchet ’13 with a man-up goal just over five minutes later. Unfortunately, just as the momentum appeared to swing in favor of the Engineers, Babson notched two more to make the score 13-5. Garvey added a goal of his own with just six seconds remaining on the clock to cut the Babson lead to 13-6 going into the fourth quarter.

In the fourth quarter, Babson again scored first, taking a man-advantage goal six minutes into the quarter, followed by another fast-break score twenty seconds later. After that, the Engineers desperately tried to mount a comeback, and managed to score three goals in 71 seconds of playing time before a turnover allowed Babson to control the ball and let the clock wind down. First, Blanchet scored unassisted to bring the score to 15-7. A slashing penalty by Babson on the play allowed MIT’s man-up offense to put another one in on a shot by sophomore midfielder Carl J. Tilbury ’12, assisted by Blanchet. Defensive midfielder and captain Garth S. Grove ‘10 scored MIT’s final goal, tipping a loose ball into the cage when the Babson goaltender failed to control the ball after a save. Unfortunately, the comeback attempt was too little, too late.

However, the Engineers still have a shot at a winning record for the first time in several years. With two wins, MIT will capture the fourth seed in the Pilgrim League playoff tournament. Both games are home on Roberts Field, where they have not lost since their home opener on March 13th – one Wednesday afternoon against Norwich, and a Saturday afternoon game against Clark University, face-off scheduled for 1 p.m.

Mike Gerhardt is also a staff member in the Sports department.