MIT Soccer Remains Undefeated After Win Over Wheaton CollegeBy Aaron Parness
The MIT men’s soccer team beat the Wheaton College Lyons 4-2 on Saturday at Wheaton to remain undefeated this season. The win improved the team’s record to 4-0-1. Wheaton has been the team’s biggest rival on the soccer pitch for the last four years, which made the victory especially sweet for the six seniors on the team. Before the match, your Engineers were ranked 10th in New England while Wheaton College was ranked second in New England and 12th in the nation.
MIT started the game very pumped up and had a great scoring opportunity within the first minute on a throw-in into the box. Wheaton quickly countered and had several fantastic opportunities thwarted by the goal-line saves of the hard working MIT defense.
It was not until a substitution twenty minutes into the game, that MIT would score the first goal of the match. Joseramon Torradas ’05 came in as a striker and had an immediate impact on the game. A good crossing ball off the foot of Douglas L. Allaire ’04 eluded two Wheaton defenders and found Torradas on the far side of the goal.
With the opposing goalkeeper charging, Torradas swiftly tucked the ball just inside the left post from twelve yards out. The bench exploded in celebration as MIT took a 1-0 lead.
Not more than a minute later, a “through ball” found Torradas in scoring position for a second time. The wily striker squirmed between two Wheaton defenders and manufactured another goal, this one with his left foot. The momentum swung hardily in the favor of MIT, silencing the large Wheaton crowd.
The Wheaton players’ heads hung low, but they were not going to concede the game. With six minutes left before halftime, a dangerous ball was cleared over the end line by co-captain Rory E. Foster ’04. On the ensuing corner kick, a Wheaton attacker leapt into the air and smashed a header into the upper corner of the net, reducing MIT’s lead to one.
The action-packed first half tired both teams on the hot day, but there was still another 45 minutes to play. Impressively, MIT was able to come out with even more intensity in the second half, hustling to balls with a playoff-like desire. After 15 minutes of hard battle, Tech’s other co-captain, Nicholas R. Nestle ’04, created just enough room to shoot from the top right of the Wheaton goal box.
The curving right-footed shot slipped past the Wheaton Goalkeeper and boosted MIT’s lead to 3-1. Energized by the goal and by the fresh legs of two substitutes, MIT went on the attack again. Torradas received a ball on the right wing and with a quick fake left the Wheaton defender looking to the middle of the field. Torradas laced a low cross in front of two rushing MIT attackers and several back-pedaling Wheaton defenders. The ball made it to the far side of the goal, and Allaire took no time in top-shelfing the ball.
Wheaton was finally able to beat junior goalkeeper, R. Morgan Mills, with a rocket into the corner of the goal, closing the gap to 4-2. Tech soccer was too aggressive and too determined to let the home team favorite get any closer, though.
After the game, long-time coach Walter Alessi praised the team’s intensity and effort, calling the game a true team win with incredible bench support. The win will surely boost MIT’s reputation, and Tech looks to carry the momentum of this win into the rest of the season. The team mentality seems to be a universal belief that MIT soccer belongs at the top of the rankings.