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Field Hockey Beats Wheaton 2-1

By Caitlin Murray

STAFF WRITER

The field hockey team gave their fans (outnumbered 17 to 5) something to cheer about Tuesday as they improved their record to 7-5 with a 2-1 win over the Wheaton College Lyons.

Just three minutes into the game, on an uncharacteristically sloppy attack, Wheaton’s Lyndsie Ryalls managed to penetrate the Engineers defense, scoring an unassisted goal, for the Lyons first and only point of the game.

Undeterred by Wheaton’s early lead, the Engineers commanded the field for much of the first half, taking advantage of the Lyons slightly weaker defense. Noelle J. Kanaga ’06 and Deanna M. Lentz ’06 led attack after attack for the Engineers, making it only a matter of time before a shot made it through the defense.

Twenty minutes in, Anna E. Ayuso ’07 drove the ball up the field and was challenged at the net by Wheaton goaltender Emily Fiskio. Fiskio came out of the net, deflecting the shot but leaving the goal open for Margaret H. Gentile ’06, who drove the ball home on the rebound.

Wheaton attempted to take the lead again late in the first half, but failed to capitalize on three consecutive penalty corners, as Cheryl A. Texin ’06 cleared the ball after the third corner with a powerful shot to the other end of the field, setting up the next goal for MIT.

With five minutes left in the first half, and the ball in Wheaton territory, Lentz scored an unassisted goal, giving the Engineers a lead they would keep for the rest of the game.

It was far from easy to maintain that lead, however. Late in the second half, the game acquired a sense of frantic urgency, as Wheaton sought any opportunity to tie it up, and fans on both sides of the field grew surprisingly boisterous (the Wheaton fans for fear of worsening their losing record of 4-6, the MIT fans for fear of a long overtime on metal bleachers in 50º weather).

Midway through the second half, chasing a typical hard hit by Texin, Lentz took a face-first dive into the turf, knocking her out of the game. Whether because of the loss of their top scorer, or just fatigue, the Engineers were unable to mount the same offensive effort seen in the first half, accruing only four shots throughout the span of the second half.

However, this did not stop the Engineers from shining defensively, allowing only one shot on goal. Sharon M. Prange ’07 made for a powerful presence at midfield by doggedly pursuing the Lyons and repeatedly knocking the ball out of MIT territory. This allowed Amanda P. Hunter ’07 to show off her speed as she invariably beat her Wheaton counterpart to the ball after it was cleared into Wheaton territory.

The Engineers managed to hold onto their lead through the second, improving their conference record to 2-2. They will travel to Mount Holyoke on Saturday, where a win would give MIT a winning conference record for the first time this season.