In a match befitting the undefeated squads from MIT and Springfield College, the Pride of Springfield earned a crucial victory with a strike from Kevin Nowak in the waning moments of the second half.
In its first four games, MIT’s attack overwhelmed opponents, averaging 4.5 goals per game. With Zachary E. Kabelac ’12 and John L. Kramer ’15 tallying five goals each on the season, and midfielder Nicholas A. Diamantoni ’15 creating opportunities through his tremendous speed, no opponent was able to hold the Engineers to less than three goals.
That all changed on Saturday when Springfield stifled the Engineers’ offense for 90 thrilling minutes. The first half set the tone for a game that featured stingy defense and excellent play from both goalkeepers. A rush by Diamantoni set up perhaps the best scoring opportunity for the Engineers of the half, but the Pride’s defense swarmed Alexander M. Dago ’15 and kept him from putting a strong shot on net.
With 15 minutes to go in the second half, the pace of the game quickened. Each attack drew a swift counterattack, and the inevitability of a breakthrough by one of these teams became more and more apparent. With 13 minutes remaining, Kramer went on a promising run and attempted a shot from close to thirty yards out, but his efforts were foiled by the physical play of the Springfield defense. Goalkeeper Dylan Sheldon Rankin ’12 made two spectacular saves against the Springfield offense in the final 10 minutes before Pride freshman Kevin Nowak deposited the ball in the left-hand corner of the net with a shot from the right side with 3:38 remaining in the half. MIT would earn one more opportunity to equalize, but the Engineers failed to take advantage of a corner kick with 1:25 remaining.
MIT will hope to capitalize on more of the scoring chances it earns when the Engineers face Brandeis and Roger Williams in non-conference play this week. They will then head to Worcester on Saturday to take on the WPI Engineers. MIT is up against stiff competition within NEWMAC; six of seven teams in the conference produced winning records against non-conference foes. However, if Saturday’s match is any indication, the Engineers and their fans should be in for an exiting season.