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Field Hockey Starts Off Season Successfully at MIT Invitational

By Daniel Wang
Associate Sports Editor

The field hockey team began its season last Friday hosting the annual MIT Invitational, held at Jack Barry Field. The event featured seven teams, 14 abbreviated games, and over 10 hours of play. Although the contests were simply unofficial scrimmages, shortened from the regular two 35-minute periods to just one, they were a way for the teams to warm up for the season ahead and to preview some of the competition.

The MIT team seemed to finish the day somewhat successfully, with two wins and two ties. The team members were thrilled with their results.

The team started off impressively with a 20 win over Tufts University. The Engineers scored early, less than a minute and a half into the game, off of the stick of defender Katherine Merrilees '97. From about 30 yards away, Merrilees slapped the ball past a sea of defenders and out of reach of a surprised Tufts goalkeeper.

The second goal came about four and a half minutes later. On this play, attacker Ann Torres '96 miss-hit a rebound from a teammate's long shot, but another attacker, Carla Oshiro '95 took the ball and stuffed it in the goal.

The Engineer offense dominated nearly the entire game, as they had many more opportunities to score. The defense also did an effective job of keeping the ball out of its half of the field. As a result, MIT goalkeeper Laura Walker '97 needed to make only three saves, and the Tufts offense had only one good scoring opportunity.

In the second game, against Plymouth State College, the team broke a scoreless deadlock, then seemed to be on its way to victory before settling for a 1-1 tie. Throughout the early minutes of this game, MIT had numerous chances to score but could not convert.

Finally, with 14 minutes 30 seconds left to play, Torres maneuvered through traffic to come up with a goal. In the closing minutes, though, Plymouth State controlled the offense. After many foiled attempts, a Plymouth State attacker hit a sharp angle past MIT goalie Joanna Garelick '98 to knot the game, 11, with less than two minutes remaining. The opponents maintained the offense, but could not beat the Engineer defense and the clock.

The goal scored by Plymouth State ended up being the only one scored against MIT in the entire day. MIT later defeated Colby College, 10, then tied Bridgewater State College, 00.

Against Colby, the Engineers dominated the offense, similar to the game against Tufts. Once again, the team had scores of opportunities to go on the board, only to end up with near-misses.

With about seven minutes remaining, both sides repeatedly fumbled the ball in front of the Colby goal. Soon after, Stephanie Maifert '98 took advantage of the situation by scoring a goal of her own, with the help of a rebound off a shot by Torres. Throughout the rest of the game, the Colby team never really presented a threat of scoring.

In the final game, the MIT players began showing signs of fatigue, attributed to the previous three games and to playing almost immediately after the Colby game. The game would still be filled with action, as the offense on both sides was often able to bring the ball all the way to the goal.

Hence, both teams saw chances to score, but to no avail due to the good defense and inability to net the ball on both ends. The Engineers had probably their best opportunity with six minutes remaining, as Oshiro had a wide open penalty corner shot. Oshiro, however, did not strike the ball cleanly, thus conceding the ball to the Bridgewater defenders. Even in the closing seconds, MIT players crowded near the Bridgewater goal, fighting for the ball.

The MIT players came off the field from their final game with much excitement and enthusiasm. Co-captain Catherine Mangion '95 said, "This is a really awesome way to start the season. This is the best we've done in my four years at the Invitational." Mangion added that the results changed the team's outlook of the season and said, "We could do really well in the [New England Women's Eight Conference] this year."

The Engineers kick off their regular season tomorrow afternoon, 1 p.m., at home against Clark University. The game is the first of a three consecutive matchups at home.