Christian W. Therkelsen ’11 made his intercollegiate debut memorable by scoring the game-winning goal in the 57th minute as MIT opened the 2007 campaign with a 2-0 victory over visiting Salve Regina University on Tuesday afternoon at Steinbrenner Stadium. The game marked the eighth consecutive year in which the Engineers have begun the season with a victory.
MIT (1-0-0) hasn’t lost a season-opener since 1999, when it suffered a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and has now defeated Salve Regina (1-2-0) in its first match in two out of the past three years.
Captain Andrew M. Bishara ’09 nearly opened the scoring for the Cardinal and Gray in just the seventh minute as he turned brilliantly on a long throw by Timothy J. Humpton ’10 before rocketing a shot off the outside of the right post.
Bishara’s effort ultimately proved to be the best scoring chance for either side in the opening half, however, as the game quickly turned into a tense midfield battle. At the break, the teams totaled a combined six shots, though MIT held a 5-1 advantage.
The second half was a different story altogether, however, as Tech pounded the Seahawks’ net with a barrage of shots from all angles. It was Therkelsen who finally broke through for the Engineers as his early second-half strike gave MIT a lead that it wouldn’t relinquish. Matthew R. Greyson ’10 drove a corner kick to Adam B. Talsma ’10, who smartly played the ball down to Therkelsen’s feet at the penalty spot. The rookie then turned and fired past Salve Regina goalkeeper Kurt Ginthwain to give the Engineers a 1-0 lead.
MIT continued to monopolize possession time, racking up a 17-1 second half shot advantage and creating a number of decent scoring opportunities for its efforts. Ginthwain stood tall in the Seahawks’ net, however, making nine saves to keep Salve Regina in the match until the late-going.
It was Bishara who put the game away for the Engineers in the 83rd minute as he opened the season with a perfectly placed header off a James C. Zorich ’08 free kick.
Tech goaltender Thomas S. Caldwell ’09 only needed to save one shot to earn his sixth career shutout.
The victory was the first in MIT colors for new head coach Milton Gooding since taking the reins from Walter Alessi, who stepped down this season after leading the Cardinal and Gray for over 30 years.
The Engineers return to the field this Saturday, Sept. 8, when they will host Rhode Island College at 3 p.m.