The MIT Women's Soccer Team (9-6, 4-3) dropped a NEWMAC conference battle to Wellesley College (9-5, 5-2) yesterday on a rainy afternoon in Wellesley, Mass.
MIT fell 2-1 despite out shooting Wellesley 22-17. Though MIT came out hard and controlled the early run of play, Wellesley got on the board in the 20th minute when a cross slipped through the cluttered box to an unmarked Wellesley forward, who tapped it into an open net. Wellesley scored a second goal 10 minutes later to take a 2-0 lead into the break.
MIT came out strong in the second half increasing the pressure and forcing Wellesley to play with their backs to the wall. The team ripped off seven unanswered shots, but Wellesley freshman goalkeeper Katie Martore was excellent in net, making 13 saves on the day.
Junior striker Amy Ludlum scored on a 20-yard free kick in the 89th minute to finally get MIT on the board, but time ran out before the team could even the contest. The goal was Amy's 16th of the year pushing her NEWMAC leading points total to 38.
Freshman forward Liz Theurer had several scoring opportunities but was unable to breach the back of the net. Late in the first half, freshman Julia Roberts also came off the bench to play up top and had a goal called back when she was ruled offside on a through ball from Amy.
The midfield of seniors Andrea Staid and Ashleigh Leonard, junior Janine Hopmans, sophomores Andrea Bradshaw and Kat Routhier, and freshman Katie Pesce really controlled the game against Wellesley, reducing the opposition to mostly playing long balls forward. During the second half flurry, Ash and Katie had
multiple shots on net forcing the Wellesley netminder to come up with saves time and time again. Dre added to the late pressure with several good corner kicks and Jersey and Janine combined on the left flank to keep up the constant pressure. Jersey also had a driven, one-time shot that curled just wide of the net late in the game.
Senior captain Mary Harding pushed forward from her defensive central position in the second half to add to the attacking barrage. She had several good runs with the ball and also got off a couple of shots. Defenders senior Chi-Fong Wang, junior Karen Davie and sophomore Jodie Wu held down what was essentially a three-player backline for the second half, shutting the door on Wellesley after the first-half goals.
Karen played an excellent game from her left back position and shut down Wellesley's leading scorer, who drifted out wide to the right flank most of the game. Unfortunately, Karen was forced to leave the game with a knee injury late in the second half. The team wishes Karen a speedy recovery. We need her defensive presence!
Julia came off the bench to fill in for Karen after she went down with a knee injury. The team's ultimate utility player, when Julia slid into the left back spot she completed the full circuit of positions. Over the course of the season she has played as a forward, midfielder, defender and goalkeeper.
***Player of the Match***
Playing in her last scheduled road contest, senior Ashleigh Leonard came out firing on all cylinders against Wellesley College getting the nod from her teammates as Player of the Match. Ash is the team's main cog and when she is on it really ups the level of play, which was on clear display against Wellesley. She was able to dominate the air all game and also won the majority of the 50-50 balls in her area. In addition, she distributed the ball effectively and her communication helped the team keep the ball moving. Ashleigh has twice been named Player of the Match, earning the award early in the season against Worcester State College.
MIT next takes the pitch against Smith College this Saturday at 2:30 p.m. in Cambridge, Mass. Smith currently sits at second place in the NEWMAC. MIT dropped to fifth place with the loss to Wellesley, but the team is only four points behind Smith and three points behind Wellesley and Springfield College.