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Katie BODner
Coach Mike Singleton gives the MIT men’s soccer team a talk during an intense early season practice this Thursday.
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While many freshmen are out exploring the history of Boston or creating soccer playing robots with their FPOPs, new varsity sports players and the rest of their teams are putting their skills to the test and getting into serious shape for the tough season ahead of them. The Tech was able to catch a few fall season varsity sports at practice and visit with some incoming freshmen.

MIT Men’s Soccer

The Men’s Soccer preseason kicked off on Aug. 23 with rigorous two-a-day workouts and practices. The team’s first game will be Sept. 2 against the University of Southern Maine.

The Men’s Soccer head coach, Mike Singleton, is also beginning his first season with the team. Singleton has been conducting grueling workouts so that the team can pick up right where it left off after such a strong season last year. “Right now in preseason, the hope is to get together and sort out how we are going to play as a team and put our best team forth on every game in the season. We come back with a lot of strong returners and a strong freshman class. We have high hopes, high hopes to really improve upon last season,” he said.

The team’s freshmen players have arrived eager and quite anxious to hit both the fields and the books. Alexander M. Dago ’15 comes to the Engineers from Chicago and hopes to play midfield or forward and to major in either Course XVIII or XIV. “I visited last September for a minority program. I started talking to the coach, and he said I’d be able to play. [MIT is] kind of everything I wanted: really good academics and a great city, Boston, which I really like,” he said.

“I’m hoping that we qualify for the NCAA tournament and hopefully make the finals,” said Andrew Y. Young ’15 who will be the Engineer’s centerback.

John L. Kramer ’15 showcased his thoughts on life at MIT and the future of the Men’s Soccer team. Kramer mentioned that he hopes to play forward and major in either Course II or XVI. “[Coach Singleton is] going to take us to a good place,” he said. Outside of soccer, Kramer is anxious about adjusting to “a new place, a whole new environment. Coming in, I know no one really. It’s going to be an adventure, I guess.”

MIT Women’s Soccer

At 9 a.m. sharp on Aug. 20, a group of wishful women sprinted onto Steinbrenner Field. An aggressive bunch of talented freshmen joined the Women’s Soccer team this year, coming hot off its strong 13-3-3 season. With the first game on Sept. 1 at Simmons College quickly approaching, head coach Martin Desmarais wastes no time and plans active practices, scrimmages and even demanding fitness tests for the girls.

Elena A. Gianotas ’15, right outside defender, of California, noted that although she is nervous for school to start and the imminent wrath of cold weather, she is quite excited about people showing up at the games and the NEWMAC NCAA tournament.

Faith C. OBrian ’15, center midfielder, said, “Practices were exactly what I expected. I’m a little bit sore and I actually got hurt during a scrimmage. I was going out for a header, and I came down on someone’s foot. It’s been a lot of tactical stuff and just getting the touch back on the ball. It’s been a lot of fun.”

Both girls are nervous about the balance between fun, sleep and soccer but agreed that freshman Pass/No Record will be a big help.

As for the team’s experience in the preseason, OBrian is excited to work with all the girls.

“I feel like we are sisters,” she said.

MIT Water Polo

An epic game against Harvard will start the men’s water polo season. Head coach, Mark Lawrence, who is new to the Engineers, has been pushing the players through rigorous practices in order to prepare them for the upcoming season. Three adroit freshmen joined the team this year — Kyle D. Bowman, Dylan J. Hallman and Jack D. Clark. Intensely motivated by the upcoming game against their rival, most of the new players agree that they have been pushed harder than they would have ever expected. Clark commented on practices, agreeing that they are “pretty tough but a good time.”

Academically, the new arrivals shared similar thoughts on their initial feelings about coming to MIT. Bowman, center defender and potential Course VI, says he chose to come to MIT because of the academics. “I didn’t want to spend all of my time on water polo,” he said.

The other incoming players were also drawn to MIT’s focus on both sports and academics. When choosing MIT, Hallman, driver and potential Course XV, wanted something different, a good balance.

With preseason coming to a close, each player has high hopes and goals. During this season, Bowman is looking to get uninjured and be a contributor to the team. Throughout the preseason, Hallman has been driven by the Harvard game and said, “It’s our biggest game. We’d like to be the northern division champions.”

Like his teammates, Clark wishes for good playing time and to beat Harvard!

Look out for these fall teams — and the rest of MIT varsity sports ­— and check out their schedules at http://www.mitathletics.com.