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Sheffler...s 3 Goals Not Enough Against Springfield

By Caroline Huang

The MIT men’s soccer team fell to Springfield College 4-3 on Saturday despite a hat trick by Ryan T. Sheffler ’07 on Senior Recognition Day.

With the loss, Tech stayed in sole possession of last place in New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference competition with a record of 0-5-0, 5-9-0 overall.

Springfield (2-4-0 NEWMAC, 5-10-2 overall) opened the scoring with a solid play only two minutes into the game. Tony Distasio scored off a cross sent by Colin Cook, who received the assist.

After a foul on Springfield, Sheffler scored the first of his three goals with a direct kick outside the 18-yard box. His best imitation of a Beckham free kick knotted the score at 1-1, where it stayed until the second half.

Sheffler scored his second goal to push the score to 2-1 in the 56th minute when he was taken down in the penalty box and the referee awarded him a penalty kick. He planted the shot into the top of the goal, where Pride goalkeeper Ryan Driscoll had no chance to make a save.

About ten minutes later, Springfield tied the game with Distasio’s second goal of the game. The Engineers defense looked slightly flat as Distasio cut around several players and cracked a left-footed shot into the near corner of the goal.

However, Sheffler broke the second tie of the game when he capitalized on a Pride defensive breakdown. Nitin Perumbeti ’09 passed the ball to Sheffler, who took advantage of Springfield miscommunication to give MIT a 3-2 lead.

Unfortunately for Sheffler and the Engineers, Springfield refused to cooperate with the Disney-movie ending — Senior Recognition Day won by a senior’s hat trick — and added two more goals within the last 10 minutes.

The first came after goalie Thomas S. Caldwell ’09 was exposed and Adrian Schippers sent the ball knuckling into the back of the net off a Jeremy Scheer assist.

The second came in the 83rd minute, when Schippers struck again with the game-winner after Caldwell made a great save off a strong free kick, but was unable to control the ball and allowed the rebound that set up Schippers.

Over the course of the game, play grew increasingly physical. Yellow cards were almost as plentiful as goals, as the referees awarded three cards to Tech players and two to members of the Pride.

The game also marked the end of three players’ home careers: attacking midfielder Sheffler, defensive midfielder Dylan S. Wright ’07, and forward Alex R. Morgan ’07. Together, the trio totaled 155 games, 34 goals, and 25 assists through Saturday. They were instrumental in helping MIT reach the second round of the NCAA tournament in 2003 for the first time.

MIT will compete on the road against the University of Massachusetts-Boston today at 3:30 p.m.