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Late Babson Goal Hands Women's Soccer 2-1 Loss

By Farhan Zaidi

The women's soccer team suffered a heartbreaking 21 loss to Babson College Saturday at Steinbrenner Stadium.

Despite dominating possession for the majority of the game, the Engineers were unable to convert on several excellent scoring chances and had their hopes of victory dashed when Babson's Maura Flemming scored the winning goal with five minutes left in the game.

Babson controlled the game early on, keeping the ball on offense for the first five minutes of regulation. The thrust was highlighted by two excellent scoring opportunities. The first occurred just two minutes in when a Babson corner kick led to a point-blank opportunity that ricocheted off the goal post and into the hands of the MIT goalie, Amy MacKay '97. Two minutes later, another Babson scoring chance was foiled when a poor centering pass led to a weak shot attempt that sailed wide of the goal.

The Engineers were forced to rely on a counter-attack offense until eight minutes in, when they maintained possession and mounted an offensive flurry on the Babson goal. After a couple of failed shot attempts, the Engineers broke through when Chantal Wright '95 scorched a shot into the corner of the Babson goal off a brilliant pinpoint pass from Becky Hill '95 for the first goal of the game.

The goal was a critical turning point, as the home team was able to defend its lead by controlling both possession and the tempo of the game for the next 30 minutes. The Engineers kept the ball in the midfield area, stifling the Babson offense, and also managed to mount several offensive challenges which could have easily given them the lead before halftime. The best opportunity came with 18 minutes left in the half, when two consecutive close-range shots from Wright were saved by the Babson goalie.

In the last 10 minutes of the first half, Babson's offense organized itself and produced several shots on goal before finally scoring with eight minutes left. The tying goal was scored by Janice Cutler, who slid a low shot through a crowd of defenders and past the MacKay to close the scoring for the half.

Physical play marks 2nd half

The second half was markedly different from the first, as physical play and a plodding tempo predominated. For the first 20 minutes, the ball mainly remained in the midfield area, where posession was repeatedly exchanged and neither offense was able to launch an organized attack on goal. After this stretch, Babson took over.

With 23 minutes left, Babson's Cutler created an excellent opportunity for teammate Melissa Newman, whose shot, which initially looked like a certain goal, was stopped only by a brilliant save by MacKay. With 16 minutes left, a well-executed Babson corner kick again gave the impression of an impending Babson score until Wright cleared it away from the MIT defensive end.

The game-winner finally came with five minutes left, when Babson's Flemming took a pass from teammate Eileen Connolly and launched a mid-range shot past MacKay to make the score 21. The Engineers efforts to mount an offensive surge to close the game were frustrated by Babson's maintaining possession of the ball.

The game closed the team's home schedule for the season.

The team's seniors - Wright, Hill, Debbie Gustafson '95 and Amy Swanson '95 - were honored by having the occasion of their final home game announced prior to the game.