Lacrosse Tournament Tribute: ‘We Owe It to the Guys of 1979’

Lee Sipes, wearing No. 79, in action during a game
Babson midfielder Lee Sipes ’21 proudly wears the No. 79 jersey in tribute to the historic 1979 team. (Photo: Frank Poulin)
Babson Magazine

Summer 2021

The year 1979 holds great significance in Babson history. That year included the College’s first undergraduate major in entrepreneurship and the men’s soccer team’s second national championship.

For the men’s lacrosse team, though, 1979 carries even greater importance. That year marked the program’s first and only NCAA tournament appearance, setting a standard for success that current head coach Rocky Batty P’24 embraced when he took over three years ago.

“My first couple of weeks on campus I had the pleasure to meet with some alums from the ’70s,” Batty said. “Guys who have been involved with Babson lacrosse for close to 50 years. In talking with them, emailing, hearing stories, receiving notes and cards, (I realized) there was a gritty, tough style of play being played at Babson in that time.”

Knowing that history, Batty ordered a No. 79 jersey, and every jersey now has “1979” positioned on the inside collar. “Clearly it ties into a team, but having that number ties into an era and ensures we’re connected through generations of Babson men’s lacrosse,” Batty said. “It’s important that number sticks around for generations to come.”


“They’re the guys who will stick around and talk about how hard they worked, how gritty they were, and how much fun they had on the field. They loved every single guy, and all they wanted to do was play with their brothers.”
John Antaya ’21, Babson lacrosse player, on the 1979 team

Now, that 1979 team has company and an even deeper bond with the 2021 team. The current Beavers won the NEWMAC regular-season and tournament championships, ending the long drought and returning to the national stage with the program’s second NCAA tournament berth.

The 1979 team never was far from the minds of the 2021 players, even after a loss to top-ranked Tufts in the first round. USILA All-America honorable mention John Antaya ’21 likened the relationship to a brotherhood.

“That’s the class we’re most connected to and feel most related to,” Antaya said. “They’re the guys who will stick around and talk about how hard they worked, how gritty they were, and how much fun they had on the field. They loved every single guy, and all they wanted to do was play with their brothers.

“That’s exactly how we feel. I love every single guy on this team. I tell them that before every game and wouldn’t want to do it with anyone else in the world. We went out there and played our hearts out. We owe it to the guys of 1979 and every alumni for building the foundation for this program until this year when we kicked the wall down.”

A Year to Remember

Babson Athletics thrived during the winter and spring sports seasons with a combined 75-14 record (.843 winning percentage). The spring teams also achieved several collective firsts for Babson, including five NCAA tournament berths, five NEWMAC regular-season championships, and four NEWMAC tournament titles. Here’s how some of the top individuals—including several Class of 2021 standouts—performed:

Baseball

Jordy Allard ’21 (7-0, 0.91 ERA) became the first Babson player to earn All-America first-team honors from both the ABCA and D3baseball.com, leading Babson (13-4) to its fourth straight NEWMAC regular-season title.

Men’s Basketball

Andrew Jaworski ’21 finished his Babson career 18th in program history in scoring with 1,189 points.

Women’s Basketball

Nicole Hiller ’21 posted career highs in points, rebounds, and assists for the Beavers (11-0), earning all-region and All-America accolades.

Men’s Ice Hockey

Nick Rosa ’21, who earned NEHC postseason honors in each of his four seasons, had four goals and seven assists for the unbeaten Beavers (8-0).

Women’s Lacrosse

Valerie Quinlan ’20, MSF’21 won NEWMAC Tournament Most Outstanding Player honors, as the Beavers (4-2) advanced to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2018.

Softball

Brooke Stock ’20, MSF’21 became the first Babson player to earn All-America recognition since 2013, as the Beavers collected NEWMAC regular-season and tournament titles, and an NCAA tournament berth.

Men’s Tennis

Kian Yazdi ’22 became just the fourth Babson men’s player to earn NEWMAC Player of the Year honors, as the Beavers (7-1) advanced to the NCAA tournament regional final for the first time in program history.

Women’s Tennis

Ashley Avery MSEL’21 joined Yagmur Akgul ’17 as the only Babson women to collect NEWMAC Player of the Year honors. The Beavers (4-1) also won an NCAA tournament match in their first appearance since 2015.

Track & Field

Katherine Jacobs ’22 (100-meter hurdles) became the second Babson woman to qualify for the NCAA championships. She recorded a career-best time of 14.45 seconds to win the event at the NEWMAC championships. On the men’s side, Colin Cianciolo ’22 (400-meter dash) and Anthony Rodriguez ’24 (10,000-meter run) also earned individual NEWMAC titles.

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