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MIT Men’s Soccer Wins Title; Season Ends 14-1-1

By Aaron Parness

TEAM MEMBER

The MIT soccer team finished their regular season this past Saturday with a 6-2 win over Coast Guard Academy. The win boosted the team’s overall record to 14-1-1, which is an MIT record for number of wins in a season. The team also went undefeated in conference play and gained home field advantage for the first time in the five-year history of the league for the conference playoffs Nov. 8 and 9.

Saturday’s game began with a small ceremony to honor the six seniors on the team who are all four-year letterman (Douglas L. Allaire ’04, Tizoc C. Cruz-Gonzalez ’04, Rory E. Foster ’04, Cory Y. McLean ’04, Nick R. Nestle ’04, and Aaron J. Parness ’04).

The team got out to an early lead when Nestle scored a goal within the first minute of the game after receiving a long cross from defender J. Dan Griffith ’05. But with physical play and a hard-nosed attitude, the Bears were able to fight back and even the score with a strong header into the upper netting. MIT’s problems were compounded when a desperately struck Coast Guard shot took a deflection off of an MIT defender and into the goal past Tech keeper R. Morgan Mills ’05.

The team now found themselves behind in a game for the first time since Oct. 8. In need of a big play, Nestle, the school’s all-time leading scorer, started one of the most beautiful goals of the season. Nestle stripped the ball from a Coast Guard defender with a sliding tackle, then got up and delivered a pass to Jose Torradas ’05. Torradas was able to play a quick one touch ball to the onrushing McLean who stroked the ball into the net with a first-time strike.

Re-energized and with new purpose, MIT moved into the second half where they exploded with four goals, one by Allaire, another by Nestle, and two off the foot of Torradas. Perhaps a combination of equal beauty to Tech’s second goal was Torradas’s first goal of the game. Midfielder Y. Walter Song ’06 eluded three Coast Guard midfielders’ attempts to take him down and delivered a slow, but perfectly paced ball to the streaking Torradas. The bench and the crowd seemed to collectively take in their breath and many stood to see if Torradas could outrun the two Coast Guard defenders. Barely getting a toe on the ball, Torradas was able to squirm between the defense and with a second lunging effort, was able to slip the ball past the charging Coast Guard goalie. After that, Coast Guard was unable to mount another dangerous attack.

The large lead allowed many of MIT’s bench players to come into the game, and this second unit also produced some good scoring opportunities. The most notable of these was a self-created shot by Mike C. Bridge ’06, who scored his first career goal for MIT in Thursday’s 5-0 victory over UMass-Boston.

The Engineers played with an intensity and flair that certainly made the faithful fans at Steinbrenner Stadium proud. The team received a standing ovation on the final whistle. Everyone will now be waiting for next Saturday when MIT will play their first tournament game against the winner of the Springfield, Coast Guard quarterfinal match. Roll out of bed early and come support your nationally ranked men’s soccer team at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 8.