MIT Women's Soccer blanks Fitchburg State 1-0
For the second week in a row, the MIT Women;s Soccer Team (4-2) team rebounded from a tough weekend loss with a victory, this time shutting out Fitchburg State College (5-1) in a early week match at MIT's Steinbrenner Stadium.
The loss ended Fitchburg's five game undefeated run and best start in the school's history. Until meeting MIT, Fitchburg ran its record to 5-0 and outscored opponents 15-2 in the process.
MIT's defense proved to be too tough for Fitchburg though. Senior captain Mary Harding and senior Chi-Fong Wang were forces in the middle of the defensive back line keeping the young and quick Fitchburg forwards off their game. Mary was also very effective at stepping up and collecting long passes from the opposition and quickly starting MIT's counterattack. Junior Karen Davie and sophomore Jodie Wu were also excellent from the outside back position both in defending and getting forward to help jump-start the attack. Both Karen and
Jodie served several well-placed balls up the flanks.
Senior captain Kat Vater collected her second shutout and second win of the season with the victory, facing eight shots and making four saves. MIT's defense is shaping into one of the toughest in the NEWMAC giving up only three goals in six games and vaulting to the top of the league in scoring defense.
Senior Ashleigh Leonard has been a dominant presence in the air for MIT all season, both on corner kicks and in the midfield -- and she finally made good on a header inside the box when she redirected a driven corner kick by fellow senior midfielder Andrea Staid into the back of the Fitchburg net for the game
winner. The team was also happy to see Ash finally able to unleash her 2006 trademark scoring celebration as she screamed ?Bam!? all the way back to the midfield line after her strike in the 25th minute.
Center midfielder freshman Katie Pesce also turned an extremely hard working performance against Fitchburg, really turning on the defensive efforts in shutting down Fitchburg's senior captain and main playmaker Kristen Hayward all over the field. Katie muscled Fitchburg's players every time they were on
the ball and kept them from being able to consistently build any attack. Sophomore Kat Routhier game off the bench to contribute in the center of the midfield, keeping up the defensive pressure and adding to a performance that successfully frustrated Fitchburg's midfield throughout the game.
Junior outside midfield Janine Hopmans started her second straight game and turned in another solid performance, proving to be very effective once again at getting wide and crossing the ball or earning corner kick opportunities.
Sophomore Andrea "Jersey" Bradshaw and freshman Julia Roberts also contributed solid minutes off the bench. Both players took time up top to spell freshman forward Liz Theurer and on the outside of the midfield. Julia continued to show her prowess at possessing and distributing the ball and Jersey brought a
great change of pace with her speed, getting wide effectively and pressuring Fitchburg's back line.
Liz, the team's leading scorer, was hampered by a slight knee injury and her playing time was limited. She was held without a shot on goal for the first time this year. Strike partner junior Amy Ludlum more than made up for this, though, ripping four shots three of them on target. Amy paces the team so far this year with 24 shots in six games.
***Player of the Match***
The return of senior midfielder Andrea Staid from a year studying abroad has had a tremendous impact on the team with her hard work, speed and great crossing ability. Against Fitchburg, "Dre" was up and down the flanks with great pace, defending hard and throwing herself into plays with reckless abandon. Dre has also made MIT extremely dangerous on corner kicks this year, serving in excellent driven balls time and time again that the team is able to get under and redirect toward goal. Dre and Ash have connected numerous times so far this season, but against Fitchburg they were finally able to break through and breach the back of the net. The play was the difference maker in the victory and prompted the team to choose Dre as Player of the Match.