MIT Women's Soccer Draws with Babson College 1-1
The MIT Women's Soccer Team (10-6-1, 5-3-1) secured a 1-1 draw with Babson College (9-4-4, 4-2-3) in the team's final regular season game on Tuesday.
The draw ensured MIT a fourth place finish in the NEWMAC and solidified the season as one for the Institute annuals. With a 5-3-1 conference record, only one other team in the history of the women's soccer program finished the NEWMAC regular season with more wins (the 2001 team won six NEWMAC games). The 10-6-1
regular season record also ranks in the top five in the program's 22-year history.
Playing on Senior Day at Steinbrenner Stadium in Cambridge, the team was able to draw on its emotion and dig deep to hold on through two overtime periods to secure the draw. The match marked the final regular season home appearance for MIT's five seniors: captains Mary Harding and Kat Vater, Ashleigh Leonard,
Andrea Staid and Chi-Fong Wang.
With the wind a major factor all game long, Babson had the wind in the first half and controlled the game, but junior striker Amy Ludlum scored an unassisted goal in the 22nd minute against the run of play to give MIT a 1-0 lead. The strike was Amy's 17th of the year. The NEWMAC's leading scorer this season, Amy's 41 points is tied for fourth all-time at MIT and equals the most points in a season at the Institute since 1992. Her 17 goals in a season is good enough for third all-time.
After Babson knotted the match in the 44th minute on a penalty kick, MIT played with the wind at its back in the second half and was able to swing some momentum and spark several scoring chances.
Freshman forward Liz Theurer had some of the best chances of the match, but was unable to find the back of the net.
Freshman center midfielder Katie Pesce had several shots on the day, including a 15-yard attempt early in the first overtime that sailed over the Babson net. The central midfield of Katie, senior Ashleigh Leonard and freshman Julia Roberts, had a tough 110-minute battle with Babson's tall and physical midfield. The three were able to string together some possession in the team's new 3-5-2 formation and triggered several attacking opportunities.
Senior outside midfielder Andrea Staid came to play on senior day. Dre was up and down her flank all game defending hard and knocking several good through balls over Babson's high backline. Though MIT's lone goal was unassisted, Dre triggered the play with a long, curving ball to the corner flag that Amy was able to possess, beat several defenders and then curl a left footed shot into the back of the net. Dre also saved a sure breakaway late in the game when she made a 30-yard recovery run and caught a Babson player and forced her wide and out of danger. She also played a spell at outside back in the first half of the game.
Junior Janine Hopmans also played well, defending hard on the flank. She had several opportunities to run onto balls wide and cross them into the box. She also had a shot early in the game that was just deflected away from goal.
Sophomore Andrea Bradshaw came off the bench in the second half to contribute both in the midfield and up top.
The defensive backline of senior captain Mary Harding, senior Chi-Fong Wang and sophomore Jodie Wu were under tremendous pressure all day, but did not allow agoal from the run of play, surrendering only the penalty kick score to a high-powered Babson team that is second in the NEWMAC in goals scored. The
three, along with junior Karen Davie, helped MIT finish the regular season as one of the top conference teams in scoring defense.
***Player of the Match***
Senior captain goalkeeper Kat Vater saved her best for last. Playing on senior day in her last regular season home game at MIT, Kat made a career high 15 saves to help the team draw with Babson and achieve its season goal of finishing in the top four of the NEWMAC conference. She made several tremendous saves during the match, including a flurry of late attempts from close range that forced the game into overtime. Kat certainly came through for the team, only surrendering a goal on a penalty kick and she was immediately dubbed Player of the Match by her teammates after time expired.
With the regular season now in the books, MIT will next face Babson on Saturday in the quarterfinals of the NEWMAC tournament. With a 4th place finish, MIT earned home field advantage for the game.
For all of you who missed it at home here is the text of the Senior Day celebration on Tuesday:
The five members of the 2007 MIT Women's Soccer senior class have played in close to 300 games combined for their school. Each player has been instrumental in triggering a strong turnaround for MIT this year, leading the team to a 10-6-1 record and a 5-3-1 mark in the NEWMAC. Only three other teams in the
22-year-history of the women's soccer program have hit double digit, regular season wins faster than this year's senior led squad.
#10 Ashleigh Leonard
Ash has been MIT's midfield general for four years. Her excellent touch on the ball and passing sense has been the catalyst that jump-starts the team's attack. Despite often giving up a few inches to her opponents, Ash has also become a dominant force in the air getting her head on most balls in the midfield and on set pieces. She is the central cog of the team's performance and in recent years it has really become true that as Ashleigh goes, so goes MIT. She leads her senior class with over 65 appearances and is ranked No. 8
all-time in career assists at MIT.
#7 Andrea Staid
Dre is the kind of hard nose, hustling player that every coach loves. She has relentless energy and in many games it seems as if there are several of her on the field. Her speed is tough to contain and her strong leg is a constant threat from anywhere. The team missed her tremendously last season when she studied abroad in England and her return has been a large part of the team's success this year. In just three seasons at MIT, she has appeared in 52 games and leads her senior class in career shots. Dre has also run track for MIT.
#23 Chi-Fong Wang
Chi plays with intensity on the soccer field that is matched by few, teammates or opponents alike. She has been an extremely strong and physical defensive force for MIT throughout her career. Chi can be counted on to go in extremely hard for challenges and comes out the winner more often than not. She also is strong in the air and will go flying in for headers. She has appeared in 55 games for the Engineers and has started in every game the past two seasons. Chi is also on MIT's track team and is a NEWMAC All-Conference First Team javelin thrower.
#14 Mary Harding
Captain Mary Harding has been a defensive hammer for MIT ever since she stepped foot on campus. Her relentless hustle and hard play have always pushed those around her to play their best, both during games and on the practice field. She has been a leader long before she donned the captain's armband for her senior
year and has always kept the team together and working to better MIT soccer. Mary has played in over 50 games in her MIT career, despite having to deal with several significant injuries and has scored five goals from her defensive position. Mary would play herself into the ground before leaving the field and has been the quintessential player throughout her career. She is also the captain of the MIT Women's Ice Hockey Team and has played lacrosse.
#1 Kat Vater
Two-year captain Kat Vater is a member of MIT's goalkeeping royalty. She tops the Institute's career record book in five categories, including career goals against average and career save percentage. Kat's goals against average of .85 in 2004 and 1.00 in 2003 rank one and two all-time for best season average. Those same years also rank one and two all time for fewest goals allowed in a season. She is ranked in the top five of almost every conceivable goalkeeping record at MIT. In addition to her gaudy numbers, Kat has been a tremendous leader and role model in her time with MIT. She has played in 61 games and was named Second Team All-Conference in 2004 and was named an Academic All-Conference player in 2004 and 2005.