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Grad Soccer Edged by Riesina

By James Moran
Team Member

MIT's second graduate soccer team lost 10 last Sunday to Riesina, an experienced team from the Massachusetts Amateur Soccer League. Playing in only its third-ever competitive game, MIT turned in its best performance of the season.

In the first half MIT played against a strong, gusty wind, which helped give Riesina the early territorial advantage. As the match warmed up MIT began to take command of the game.

The strong midfield partnership of Jonny Klepsvik G and Albert Folch G began to dominate in the center of the park. Balls were threaded through the Riesina defense in order to use the pace of Grant Schaffner G and the skill of Rodrigo Capaz G up front.

The strategy nearly paid early dividends, as Schaffner often tested the reflexes of the Riesina keeper with some long and close range efforts, included a near-miss on a header.

Klepsvik had a legitimate penalty claim when he was bundled over inside the Riesina box but the referee waved play on. Schaffner put the ball in the net with a well placed shot but the goal was disallowed due to an offside decision. The Riesina players were quick and skillful but they rarely threatened the MIT goal, much to the delight of veteran coach Josh Elliott G.

MIT started the second half much like the end of the first, with threats of scoring. An early MIT corner kick caused disarray in the Riesina defense and could have been converted for the opening goal.

The turning point of the match came midway through the second half. Riesina was awarded a corner kick which normally would have been a harmless situation. The cross, aided by the strong wind, went directly into the net at the near post. It was a fortunate goal going against the run of play.

MIT, despite the setback, did not give up. The Engineers renewed their attacks on the Riesina defense. Folch had a chance to score on a direct free kick, but was denied with a brilliant save by the Riesina keeper.

Unfortunately, Folch then strained his hamstring and had to be substituted. And MIT never fully covered from the gap left in midfield.

Riesina attacked time and time again through the center. MIT needed some heroic defending from Steffen Ernst G and Jim Saalfrank G to prevent any further damage. In the final few minutes the MIT players gave it their all in their quest for an equalizer which was not to come. The final score ended 10, in Riesina's favor.