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Women's Soccer Opens with Win

By Daniel Wang
Associate Sports Editor

According to head coach Suzan Rowe, the goal of the women's soccer team is simply to win the season-ending New England Women's Eight Conference Championship. Although that point in time is quite a while away, the team started its season well Saturday afternoon with a 21 win over NEW-8 foe Mount Holyoke College, at MIT's Steinbrenner Stadium.

The contest started out full of fast-paced action and remained that way throughout the entire game. On both sides, the offensive team was able to take the ball all the way to the goal.

The Engineers were the first to score, off of a goal by Becky Hill '95 in the 15th minute of play. The goal was unassisted, but Hill received the ball after a teammate intercepted a Mt. Holyoke throw-in.

Hill later helped MIT build a 20 lead, but this time provided an assist to Chantal Wright '95, who scored in the 36th minute. On the goal-scoring play, Hill ran along the sideline, then gave a long arcing pass that landed in front of Wright, who was charging down the middle of the field. Wright then dribbled the ball past a defender and the Mt. Holyoke goalkeeper, allowing her to net the ball easily.

After Wright's goal, the Engineers had many more chances to score in the first half but could not convert. One of those instances was when Sarah Davis '97 intercepted a Mt. Holyoke goal kick and then passed the ball to Wright. The shot, however, ended up hitting the crossbar.

In the second half of play the tempo kept up, but the Engineers convincingly controlled the offense most of the way. Part of this was due to the defensive players, who prevented the Mt. Holyoke players from having a good look at the MIT goal.

In the beginning of the second half, MHC took charge of the offense, and came very close to scoring. The efforts succeeded with a goal in 49th minute to make the score 21, with the help of an unlucky mistake by MIT goalkeeper Amy MacKay '98. MacKay caught a MHC shot, but then the ball slipped out of her arms and into the goal.

Refusing to settle for a tie, players on the MIT bench began to feel nervous. When their teammates took the offense, they, among others, eagerly hoped for an insurance goal.

There were numerous opportunities to score, but the Engineers were unable to increase their total or the lead. In one stretch of time they had three corner kicks in less than two minutes. In the minutes that followed, there were a countless number of near-misses and shots stopped by the MHC goalie.

Mount Holyoke still presented a threat to score when it had possession of the ball. With about 23 minutes remaining, MacKay caught a long shot, but then fumbled the ball. Fortunately, MacKay scrambled and recovered the ball before the MHC offense could reach it.

A little more than a minute later, a Mt. Holyoke player made a breakaway to the MIT goal and seemed to have a very good chance to challenge MacKay. Fortunately, Emily Brown '96 was able to distract the attacker and knock the ball away from the side.

After the few scares by MHC, the Engineers managed to regain control of the ball and of the offense. In the late stages of the game they were still able to do so, even after losing Wright, who took a kick to the knee with about nine minutes left to play.

At game's end, the statistics told the tale of near-domination. In the entire game, the Engineers took 40 shots on the goal, while their adversary took only 14. The Engineers' scoring chances included nine corner kicks, as opposed to Mt. Holyoke's one. Furthermore, Mt. Holyoke goalie Lindsay Knoll had to make 10 saves, while MacKay needed to stop the ball only five times.

Rowe said that she was pleased with the way her team played, particularly with the passing and the defense. Rowe also said that the game "was a good team effort - we used everyone as a team."

Partly uplifted by the game, Rowe showed an enthusiastic outlook to the season, calling her current team the most talented team she has coached in five years. "We will have a very exciting season," she said.

The team will play its next game this afternoon, in a home match against Regis College. A three-game road trip will follow.