The MIT Women's Soccer Team (7-4, 2-1) outlasted conference foe Clark University (2-8, 0-3) in a 2-1 victory last night.
Playing a night game under the lights in Worcester, MIT held off a late flurry by Clark to preserve the NEWMAC victory, propelling the team into third place in the conference.
Forward Amy Ludlum continued her recent scoring flourish, knocking home her conference-leading 10th and 11th goals of the season in the first half to help MIT move out to a 2-0 lead. Eleven goals is a new season career high for the junior speedster. With 26 points on the year, Amy has now moved eight points clear of the rest of the pack at the top of the NEWMAC scoring leaders chart.
Though Amy's goals were officially unassisted both of them came as a result of excellent combination play out of the midfield of seniors Ashleigh Leonard and Andrea Staid, junior Janine Hopmans and freshman Katie Pesce, who were able to hit excellent through balls forward for Amy to run onto on the flanks and cut back to attack goal. Ash's run forward on Amy's last goal drew the Clark keeper off her line and opened up the net for Amy to slot a ball home.
The midfield faced a busy night against some very quick Clark midfielders. Sophomore Andrea Bradshaw came on in the second half to contribute some quality minutes and freshman Julia Roberts also came off the bench to help defend the midfield in the late stretch of the game.
Dre also contributed to the winning effort with some strong goal kicks, which really turned the tide late in the game and helped the defense overcome some injury issues on goal kicks. Ash also cleared several balls out of the box late in the game as she got back to help defend.
Freshman forward Liz Theurer made some excellent runs and worked a few good combos early in the match with Amy up top. Liz also turned in one of her most effective games at checking back to the ball, holding onto it and sparking possession.
Under intense pressure late in the game the backline of senior captain Mary Harding, senior Chi-Fong Wang, junior Karen Davie and sophomore Jodie Wu held tough and kept Clark from finding the net after the team's lone rallying goal. The defense faced a host of late corners and wide pressure and was able to clear the ball out of danger.
With its late push, Clark actually out shot the engineers 13-5, but many of the shots soared wide and senior captain goalkeeper Kat Vater made a few late saves to preserve the victory. Kat earned her fifth win of the season.
***Player of the Match***
Junior Karen Davie was voted Player of the Match by her teammates after turning in an excellent performance from her outside back position. Clark's main attack was often focused up the flanks and they were particularly dangerous down the right side of the field where Karen was waiting to repeatedly thwart them and send the ball back up the field. She also effectively bumped up and pressured Clark in the middle third of the field, stopping the attack before it could really build up. A naturally right-sided player Karen has been a great asset all year playing on the left-hand side and being forced to rely on her opposite leg for most clearances under pressure. Against Clark, and in general, Karen has shown great presence to not only clear the ball high and wide when needed, but to also be patient on the ball when given space and find her teammates up the field to keep possession.
MIT next hosts Coast Guard Academy at 1 p.m. on Saturday in another NEWMAC match up.