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Lyons Attack Quickly, MIT Can’t Answer

By Melissa Hart

TEAM MEMBER

The MIT women’s soccer team picked up a win, a loss, and a draw in a tough week of conference play. The Engineers, currently 8-5-2, have one regular season game remaining.

This past Tuesday, on a brisk autumn afternoon, the team travelled to face the Wheaton College Lyons in a conference contest. The opportunistic Lyons were quick to pounce and converted three of their first four shots into goals, putting MIT in a 0-3 deficit with 80 minutes left to play.

Wheaton’s fourth goal shortly followed, when their All-American forward and New England’s leading scorer, Tracy Prihoda, capitalized on a through-ball.

Despite their early firepower, Wheaton’s fourth goal would be their last, as MIT went on to play a solid 70 minutes, holding the Lyons’ notoriously relentless offense scoreless for the remainder of the match.

The Engineers took nine shots in the contest, and tested the Wheaton keepers six times. Despite these shots, MIT could not get on the scoreboard. Wheaton had fourteen shots in the match and MIT’s keeper Connie Yang ’03 made nine saves before she was relieved by Sarah Barber, a CMI exchange student.

Though solid in the second half, MIT was unable to meet the offensive effort put forth by the #1-in-New England and #4-nationally ranked Lyons. The Engineers had to swallow the shutout for their fifth loss on the season.

Defense key in win over Smith

Last Saturday, MIT traveled to Smith College to take on another feisty and physical conference rival. The game was an important one for conference standings and throughout the match, play went back and forth.

Smith appeared to have the physical and aggressiveness edge while MIT dominated team play and possession. Having played in two physical games earlier in the week, however, MIT was prepared for the hard-hitting match. The Engineers kept their composure, and fortunately their health, despite Smith’s bully style.

The thirteenth minute proved an unlucky one for Smith as MIT defender Rebecca E. Clinton ’03 served a well-placed corner kick to senior classmate Kelli A. Griffin, who found the ball and sent it sailing towards the net. The Smith keeper made an initial save but Griffin was there for the rebound and sent it again to goal. This time, a Smith defender got a piece of it, though not enough. Meghan E. O’Kane ’06 came sliding in to put the ball away past Smith’s keeper. The lone goal would be all MIT needed to edge out the Pioneers in front of a large and loud Smith home crowd.

Defenders Clinton, Ai-ris Yonekura ’05, and Juthica B. Mallela ’06 held strong against Smith’s attack. Sheila E. Saroglou ’03 and Lydia A. Helliwell ’05 were outstanding, continuously squashing any progress Smith tried to make through the middle. Keeper Yang had eight saves to earn the shutout.

Brandeis battle ends in draw

Last Thursday, MIT tied local rival Brandeis University 2-2 in a 110-minute contest that ended in the dark. MIT went out to an 1-0 lead in the 24th minute on a Griffin finish off a Clinton corner. Confidence was high amongst the MIT squad, but the feeling would be fleeting as just two minutes later, Brandeis capitalized on a defensive letdown to tie the game.

Minutes before the end of the half, Griffin would strike again, this time off of a signature super-throw by Monica F. Morrison ’04. Despite dominating the play and doubling Brandeis’ attempts at goal (22 shots for MIT, 11 for Brandeis), MIT allowed the Judges to score again with twenty-two minutes left in regulation.

The 2-2 draw sent the game to overtime and would not be broken by either team. The draw was a disappointment for MIT, as they had seen many chances to win throughout. Yang had four saves for MIT on the day, while the Brandeis keeper had 10.

MIT stands at 8-5-2 overall and 3-3-1 in the conference. On Saturday, the team, led by departing fourth-year seniors Clinton, Griffin, Yang, Saroglou and Sarah E. Mendelowitz, will host Mt. Holyoke at 1 p.m. at Steinbrenner Stadium. Besides being the last home game of their careers, the match against Mt. Holyoke will determine post-season tournament seeds.