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Men...s Soccer Hopes to Build on Momentum in 2006

By Ryan Lanphere

The 2005 MIT Varsity Men’s Soccer team awoke from a deep slumber late last season at the NEWMAC Championships, somehow managing to finish runner-up to Wheaton College despite a weak 1-5 league showing during the regular season that was only good for a last place finish.

The team hopes to build on momentum from the end of last season to hit the ground running in 2006. As Coach Walter A. Alessi put it, “We finished strong last season and have most of our players returning so we have high expectations.” These expecations include winning the NEWMAC tournament and an NCAA tournament bid.

The losses of graduating co-captain and starting center midfielder Walter Song ’06 (first team All-New England and first team all-NEWMAC) and four-year letterman and co-captain Josef L. Miler ’09 should not have too big an impact, given that the other nine starters remain on the 2006 team.

Expect big seasons from last year’s leading scorers co-captain forward Ryan T. Sheffler ’07 (first team all-NEWMAC and MIT top scorer) and Chase J. Lochmiller ’08 (second for MIT in goals scored), leading the attack up front.

Managing the middle, co-captain Chris R. Desrochers ’08 (second team All-Conference) will make his presence felt up the middle distributing the ball to forwards Sheffler and Lochmiller after finishing second on the team in 2005 with six assists.

The Engineers also have an experienced backfield with defenseman Nitin Perumbeti ’09 (second team all-NEWMAC) and goalkeeper Thomas S. Caldwell ’09, making scoring goals on the Engineers no easy task.

Senior forward Alex R. Morgan should also return to make a big impact this year after spending the 2005 season abroad in Cambridge, England.

In an extremely competitive conference “all league games are important,” said Coach Alessi. The Engineers will open their season on September 1 at Steinbrenner Stadium versus Fontbonne University, with the kickoff set for 3:00 p.m.

Coach Alessi (2002 and 2003 NEWMAC men’s soccer coach of the year) returns for his 31st season on the sidelines for the MIT Men’s Soccer team. With a career record of 198-241-30 he is one of the longest tenured and most often victorious varsity coaches at MIT.

With their eyes set on a NEWMAC title and a NCAA Tournament bid, team members will have no room to relax in 2006. Every contest on the pitch will be as important as the next in order to demonstrate that the Engineers are a team to be reckoned with in 2006.