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David M. Nole ’09 fights for control of the ball with Rhode Island College’s Kyle Genereux during the MIT men’s soccer match on Saturday.
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Freshman sensation Christian W. Therkelsen ’11 emerged as MIT’s offensive hero for the second consecutive game, as the striker completed a hat trick in the Engineers’ 3-2 victory over Rhode Island College on Saturday afternoon at Steinbrenner Stadium. The Engineers exacted revenge on the Anchormen, who soundly beat MIT by a score of 4-1 early last season.

Therkelsen has now scored the decisive goal in each of his first two intercollegiate contests, as he netted the game-winner in the 2-0 season-opening triumph over Salve Regina University last Tuesday.

MIT (2-0-0) opened the scoring in just the ninth minute on the first shot of the match. Midfielder Neil S. Zimmerman ’09 broke free down the right side, delivering a picture-perfect cross right to Therkelsen. The rookie made no mistake, re-directing his header across the face of the goal and off the inside of the left post, giving Rhode Island keeper Dereck Loisel no chance.

The resilient Anchormen (2-2-0) also managed a goal on their first shot of the contest, leveling the score in the 27th minute when freshman midfielder Adam Philbin’s cross from the left flank was side-footed home by sophomore Jose Talavera. The strike was the first of the year for Talavera and left the halftime score line at 1-1.

MIT opened a scoring flurry in the second half, re-taking the lead with a pair of goals less than six minutes after the restart. Chase J. Lochmiller ’08 sent an excellent through ball to Therkelsen, catching the Rhode Island defense sleeping. Therkelsen calmly rounded the keeper before burying the shot, skirting around two back-tracking defenders in the 48th minute.

Therkelsen gave the Engineers a 3-1 cushion and completed his hat trick just over three minutes later, notching his fourth goal of the season after captain Andrew M. Bishara ’09 sent him a through ball.

A frantic opening to the second half finished 29 seconds later, as Anchormen captain Josh Silva cut the deficit to 3-2 with a powerful penalty kick. The junior finished high into the top right corner after a teammate was taken down in the box.

Rhode Island had a golden opportunity to tie the game in the 80th minute, as the referee awarded the Anchormen a second spot kick after an MIT handball. However, Silva’s second penalty attempt was unsuccessful, as goalkeeper Thomas S. Caldwell ’09 guessed left and batted the ball away to deny the effort and secure the 3-2 win.

Caldwell made three saves to earn the victory, while Loisel stopped two shots in defeat.

The Engineers will hit the road for the first time this season when they travel to Medford on Tuesday, Sept. 11 to take on Tufts University at 7 p.m.