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Men's Soccer Barrels Through Opener with Two Crushing Wins

By Edgar H. Martinez and Erik S. Balsley
Staff Reporters

The men's soccer team began their home season with a game against Springfield College on Saturday and another game against Fontbonne College from Saint Louis, Missouri on Sunday. The Engineers were able to win both games with scores of 62 and 70, respectively.

Before the start of the Springfield game Coach Walter Alessi commented that "most teams have trouble getting the goal into the back of the net," and he cited this as an area in which the Engineers were working hard to improve. It was quite clear in the first half that the Engineers had practiced well; of the seven shots on goal by the Engineers, three made it into the back of the net.

After early Engineer difficulties controlling the ball, Jeff Steinheider '99 and Andres Villaquiran '97 assisted Steven Wong '99 for the first goal of the game. Following this goal, the Engineers were consistently in control of the ball. Springfield managed to make only one shot on goal in the half and even that shot was saved by goalie Raja Jindal G. At halftime, the score was 30.

The second half was not much different for the Engineers. They completed several more successful drives, posting goals by Villaquiran and Wong. Chris Danielian '97 contributed a goal with a perfectly executed penalty kick at 27:47 into the second half.

With less than two minutes left in the game, Springfield was able to squeeze two goals out of the MIT defense. With 10 seconds left in the game, MIT fans began an impromptu countdown until the game ended with a final score of 62.

"We just played two solid halves," Alessi said. "We gave everybody a chance to play [The Engineers] just completely dominated the game."

Last year the Engineers had trouble putting two good halves together, but they completed the task well this time against a "pretty good team," he said.

Team beats Fontbonne 70

The team faced Fontbonne College on Sunday in an exhibition game for Fontbonne. MIT overwhelmed the Fontbonne team from the beginning. Fontbonne had only 10 goal shots, compared to MIT's 38 shots.

Keith Szlusha '97 scored the first goal of the game with an assist by Wong at 23:15 in the first half. A scoring barrage soon followed with Scott Barnard '97 scoring a goal 23:57 into the half, assisted by Szlusha. This goal was promptly followed by a goal 25:19 into the half by Brian Bilello '97 with an assist by Rick Monte '00.

At this point of the game, the frustration of Fontbonne began to show when a Fontbonne player was issued a yellow card for use of profanity on the field.

The final two goals of the half were scored by Villaquiran with an assist by Barnard, and by Fito Louis '00 with Monte and Barnard assisting. At the end of the half the score was 50.

The Engineers stayed strong throughout the second half. Of the five MIT saves, Jindal had three and John Schaffer '00 had the other two. The goalkeeping, combined with the Engineers' strong defense, kept Fontbonne from scoring in the second half.

The offense also managed to make some strong drives in the second half. David Danese '99 scored another goal for MIT with an assist by Villaquiran and Louis 38:57 into the half. The final goal of the game was then scored by Louis with an assist by Monte and Barnard, to bring the final score to 70.

The Engineers face a "pretty tough" schedule this year, so each game should be a "tough" one, Alessi said.

The Engineers next home game is this Saturday against Norwich University at 3:30 p.m. in Steinbrenner Stadium.