Leach 'Saves' the Day as WPI Women's Soccer Advances in NEWMAC Tournament

Jenna Hirshfeld - WPI Women's Soccer 2021

Babson Park, MA --- Fifth-seeded WPI converted its first three opportunities and got a pair of saves from junior goalkeeper Kelsey Leach (Tolland, CT) to outlast fourth-seeded Babson in penalty kicks, 3-2, following a 0-0 double-overtime draw in a NEWMAC Tournament quarterfinal on Tuesday afternoon at Hartwell-Rogers Field. 

WPI, ranked fourth in the most recent NCAA Division III Region II rankings and unbeaten over its last seven contests, runs its record to 11-5-3 overall. The Engineers will travel to top-seeded MIT for a semifinal on Thursday at a time to be announced.  Babson, which is ranked fifth in the region, extended its unbeaten streak to eight games and likely sees its season come to a close at 9-5-5. 

Graduate student Jenna Hirshfeld (Reston, VA) and juniors Grace Casey (Winchester, MA) and Josie Kim (San Jose, CA) all converted penalties for WPI. Senior goalkeeper Lauren Paul (Schaghitcoke, NY) made eight saves in 110 minutes to earn the shutout before Leach's heroics in the shootout. 

Senior Katie Korzec (Whitman, MA) and junior Caitlin Trott (North Hampton, NH) were successful on penalty kicks, while junior goalkeeper Morgan Fedosiewich (Ottawa, Ontario) kept her ninth clean sheet of the year with eight saves on the afternoon for the Beavers. The shutout was the seventh in a row for the Green and White, which has not been scored upon in 758 minutes going back to October 9. 

The Engineers and Beavers played 220 minutes against each other over the last seven days without conceding a goal.  The two squads also played to a 0-0 double overtime draw last Wednesday in Worcester. 

Babson senior Maite Gutierrez (Coral Gables, FL) header bounced off of Paul's shoulder in the 17th minute and Fedosiewich made her best save of the opening half by smothering Engineers' junior Caitlin Bonavita's (Wilbraham, Mass.) flick in front of goal off a cross by senior Ranya Basma (Shirley, MA) in the 21st minute.

She also caught Casey's looping header off a long free kick just in front of the crossbar in the 65th minute and tracked WPI junior Ashleigh Matsis' (Milford, NH) 25-yard blast in the 67th minute to keep the game scoreless. 

Senior Kate Ryan (Winchester, MA) saw her bid to open the scoring go just off target in the 73rd minute as she was free just outside the six-yard box after collecting a service from Korzec, but pushed her shot wide of the right post. The Beavers' best scoring chance of the game came just over eight minutes into the first overtime as Paul came off her line to make a diving save on Trott from 12 yards before Korzec touched the rebound attempt inches wide of the right post. 

Korzec also had the final chance of extra time following a foul but her 26-yard free kick sailed just over the crossbar. 

Both teams attempted 19 shots and put eight on goal, while WPI held a 10-1 advantage in corner kicks.

Release Courtesy Babson Sports Information

Kelsey Leach PK Save vs Babson Video