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Soccer Climbs to .500 With Winning Streak

By Theresa Burianek

The MIT women’s soccer team has established a three-game winning streak heading into the final regular season game this Saturday at Wellesley College.

Last Thursday, MIT traveled to nearby Waltham to take on Brandeis University in a non-conference match. Although the conditions were cold and windy, the Engineers came out fired up and dominated the first half. Freshman scoring sensation Sarah E. Mendelowitz ’03 connected with the back of the net in the 34th minute off a pass from fellow freshman Kelli A. Griffin ’03.

The Engineers stayed strong in the second half, causing Brandeis frustration and mistouches. Dominating in the net was Connie Yang ’03, who recorded her first shutout. Griffin (5 goals, 5 assists) and Mendelowitz (7 goals, 1 assist) lead the team in scoring with 15 points each after the Brandeis victory.

MIT returned home Saturday to take on conference rival, Mount Holyoke College on MIT’s new turf field. Playing in front of a large crowd of family, friends, and alumnae, MIT looked for its first conference victory. Going into the game MIT knew it would be a physical game from the Lyons, who were trying to avenge an overtime post-season loss to MIT last year.

However, Tech held its own, dominating with controlled possession play, out shooting Mt. Holyoke 23-4. After two intense, emotional halves, the score was still 0-0 as MIT failed to capitalize on many close shots and misplays by the Holyoke keeper. Continuing a three-year tradition, the game went into overtime.

MIT pulls out overtime win

MIT held its ground and capitalized on a Mt. Holyoke foul. Rebecca E. Clinton ’03 placed a high shot to the back of the net to win the game for the Lady Engineers. Yang again had key saves in recording another shutout in goal.

It was a great way to finish the last home game of the season. But perhaps the most exciting game of the last week was MIT’s Tuesday nightcap at WPI, on their turf field. Emotions were high on both sides, because the winner would get into the conference playoffs automatically, while the loser would have to compete in a play-in early next week. MIT continued their controlled game and dominated on the ground during the first 20 minutes of the game.

Then WPI broke through the defense with a goal in the 23rd minute. MIT responded quickly, capitalizing on the many corners kicks yielded by WPI. In the 26th minute, Shalini Agarwal ’01 took the corner, sending it in to Yi Xie ’02 on the near post, who flicked it on to Clinton, who headed it again to Griffin, who finished the play by placing the ball in the back of the net.

However, the MIT defense was caught again by WPI’s long air balls. WPI freshman Susie Mendengall broke through twice to conclude the scoring for the first half.

Down 3-1 at half, the MIT Engineers took the break to regroup and refocus on their game, and the meaning of the game. A loss would mean a rematch with Mt Holyoke, a win would get MIT past the play-in game. The heart of the MIT Engineers showed through in the second half.

A little under 20 minutes into the half, Griffin scorched the back of the net on a feed from Jennifer M. Fiumara ’02. With the score 3-2 in WPI’s favor, play continued back and forth as both Engineer teams fought for the win. Then, in the 81st minute, Sarah K. Perlmutter ’02, blasted another shot at the goal, one which the diving WPI keeper could not stop. Perlmutter was assisted by Mendelowitz.

With the scored tied 3-3, with less than 10 minutes to play, it looked like another overtime for the Engineers. However, MIT had other plans. Just a minute after the tying goal, Yi Xie ’02 fed Theresa Burianek ’99 a through ball towards the right side of the goal. Burianek shot around the WPI keeper to the opposite side of the goal, securing an MIT lead. MIT maintained its lead for the remaining eight minutes and captured another conference victory.

MIT is now 7-7-1 on the season. The Lady Engineers play their final regular season game Saturday at Wellesley at 1:00 p.m. MIT will play in the first round of conference playoffs next Thursday. Their opponent will be determined by the results of this weekend’s games.