The MIT women’s soccer team faced the Wellesley Blue in the first round of NEWMAC playoffs Tuesday afternoon in Steinbrenner Stadium. After playing to a 0-0 tie after regulation and two overtimes, the third-seeded Engineers won the penalty shootout 3-1 to earn their 13th win and a trip to the conference semifinals.
Chances for both teams were few in the first half, but had opportunities late in the game to break the deadlock. In the 77th minute, Alisha D. Lussiez ’12 beat two defenders on the left sideline, but her pass to Emily Kao ’13 in the center was intercepted and cleared. In the 86th minute, Lussiez once again got past the Wellesley backfield; she advanced the ball into the 18-yard box, but it was kicked out by a defender from behind.
On the ensuing corner, Andrea Y. Park ’13 sent a ball in front of the goal which co-captain Lauren R. Hernley ‘11 got a deflected but could not direct into the net.
The Wellesley forwards also threatened with runs in the closing minutes of the game, but the MIT defense, led by goalkeeper Meghan S. Wright ’13, stopped each attack. Wright finished with five saves in the match.
After 90 minutes of scoreless play, the fans in the bleachers were anxious for the Engineers to close out the game. Heard amidst the supporters’ shouts of support were pleas for individual players to score so everyone could go home. “I have work to finish!” and “I’m cold!” were commonly added onto chants of “Go Tech” throughout the overtime periods.
After the two 10 minute sudden-death overtimes could not decide a winner, the match moved into a penalty kick shootout. Wellesley won the coin toss and elected to shoot first. The first penalty attempt by Wellesley’s Emily Wilson sailed high, bouncing off the football goalposts. Lussiez responded for the Engineers by hitting the upper-right corner, giving MIT a 1-0 lead.
On Wellesley’s second attempt, Wright guessed correctly, diving to her right to make the save. Park was next for MIT; her shot deflected off the underside of the crossbar and over the line to put MIT up 2-0. After Chelsey-Ann Patry scored for the Blue on their third attempt, Kuo buried her shot in the back of the net for a 3-1 lead, leaving Wellesley no room for error.
The next shot by Amanda Young hit the crossbar and bounced back out, sealing the win for MIT. As the Engineers celebrated on the field, the engineers in the bleachers celebrated the conclusion of the two-and-a-half hour match, eager to return to their heated rooms and their problem sets.
MIT next plays on Saturday afternoon in Springfield, MA against Babson College, whom they lost to last weekend 1-0. The winner will advance to the NEWMAC Tournament finals.