MIT Women's Soccer off to 2-0 Start
The MIT's Women's Soccer Team (2-0-0) started off the 2006 season with a bang and let fans, family, friends and opposing team's know that something is brewing out of Cambridge this year with a 2-1 overtime victory over traditionally strong Brandeis University (0-1-0) last Saturday and a solid 4-0 victory over Simmons College (1-2-0).
Brandeis is our team's most common non-conference opponent and has been a thorn in the side of the MIT in recent years winning the last three games by a combined score of 13-1, including a 3-0 season opening win last year. This year, though, the team brought the hard work of preseason to bear at MIT's Steinbrenner Stadium and sent Brandeis packing.
The team took it to Brandeis from the start matching them physically and dominating early possession. Senior captain Mary Harding put an exclamation point on the early play when she booted home a ball from fellow senior Ashleigh Leonard and put the Engineers up 1-0 in the 8th minute.
MIT continued to control the game for much of the first half. Brandeis rebounded strongly in the second half, though, notching the game in the 59th minute. The last half of the game was a back and forth battle, which resulted in a deadlocked score at the end of regular time.
The team wasted no time putting the game away into overtime though, once again starting out strong and taking it to Brandeis. Freshman striker Liz Theurer scored her first college goal in the 5th minute when she banged a shot of the crossbar into the back of the net, after a flurry in the six yard box. Both Liz and strike partner Amy Ludlum were a thorn in the side of Brandeis' backline all day. The midfield anchored by field general Ashleigh, freshman Katie Pesce and second half sub Kathryn Routhier played hard and aggressive all game. The "Andreas" on the outside of the midfield - Andrea Staid and Andrea Bradshaw - showed off their tremendous fitness racing up and down the flanks non-stop and creating many dangerous chances with their crosses.
The all-returning backline of Mary, senior Chi-Fong Wang, junior Karen Davie and sophomore Jodie Wu showed their experience against a strong Brandeis frontline, playing together and thwarting most of Brandeis' chances quickly. The defense also made their mark offensively with Mary's goal and many long runs forward by a screaming Jody.
***Player of the Match***
With injured goalkeepers senior captain Kat Vater and sophomore Stephanie Brenman watching from the sideline, freshman Julia Roberts stepped into the net for her first college start and made eight saves on the way to her first career victory. Julia showed the poise and confidence you would expect out of a veteran netminder, turning away several very difficult shots and coming out to challenge Brandeis attackers on several occasions, winning the battle each time. Not bad for a freshman in her first game - and oh yeah, she's not actually a goalkeeper! With continued injury problems for Kat and a sudden problem for Steph, the team was forced to turn to field players to play keeper in the home opener. Julia, normally a midfielder, quickly stepped up, trained for several days as a goalie, and helped secure MIT's biggest upset in recent
years. It's a pretty impressive college debut and a performance that was a no-brainer for player of the match.