Second-Half Scoring Powers Men's Soccer to Victory over Wentworth
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Three second-half goals, including two in a span of a minute, propelled the MIT men's soccer team to a 3-0 victory over Wentworth Institute of Technology in a non-conference tilt on Monday night. The Engineers, playing in their final home game of the regular season, improved to 8-6-0 on the year while the Leopards' ledger lowered to 6-7-3.
MIT made the first charge at net after 4:15 elapsed in the game courtesy of sophomore Tyler Singer-Clark's (Falmouth, Mass.) breakaway. He sent a strike from 10 yards away on the far side towards the near post, but goalie John Longo dove and the ball deflected off his right hand out of danger. Wentworth's best opportunity of the frame came just over six minutes later on a throw-in by PJ Platner. From 10 yards out along the near sideline, he lobbed the ball into the box which was headed by Matt Racca to the far post; however, senior goalie Dylan Rankin (Providence, R.I.) made the quick grab. The Engineers nearly ended the deadlock in the 26th minute on a low shot from sophomore Jonathan Tebes (Hamden, Conn.), but a point-blank save by Longo kept the game scoreless through the intermission.
Moments into the second stanza, senior Zach Kabelac (Potomac, Md.) redirected a cross from Singer-Clark that forced Longo to make another diving deflection. On the Leopards' first corner kick of the night, John Geleski lofted the ball into the box where it was headed by Richie Harvey towards a seemingly open net; however an MIT defender cleared the ball off the line at the last second.
The Engineers ended the defensive battle in the 63rd minute on a solo effort by Kabelac who chased down a pass along the near sideline and sent a rolling strike into the box. The ball managed to go untouched as it hit the far post and then broke the plane of the goalmouth before bouncing back into the field.
With approximately 20 minutes remaining in regulation, Wentworth's attack began to find its rhythm. With only freshman goalie Samuel Cannon (Scarsdale, N.Y.) to beat, Geleski attempted to corral a bouncing feed just inside the top of the box but sophomore Andrew Fijan (West Chester, Pa.) sprinted between both players to clear the ball out. In the 74th minute, Travis Lombardi's corner kick ricocheted off several players and then hit the bottom of the crossbar before getting kicked out of play. Cannon turned away long-distance attempts by Jake Buzzell and Josh Deschene in the 76th and 81st minutes to maintain the shutout.
On the counterattack, freshman Alexander Dago (Chicago, Ill.) sent a throughball to fellow classmate Chester Chambers (Columbia, Md.) along the far side. Chambers unleashed a shot that hit the far post and with Longo on the ground, he redirected the rebound to the near post. MIT increased its margin to 3-0 exactly 56 seconds later following a scramble in the box. Senior Russell Kooistra (Campobello, S.C.) struck the ball which Longo attempted to smother. However, it came loose and was quickly knocked in by freshman Nick Diamantoni (Belle Mead, N.J.). Wentworth's final bid of the game came on a 15-yard chip shot by Adam Rhodes with 43 seconds left to play.
The Engineers held commanding advantages in shots (18-10) and corner kicks (14-3) in addition to a slight edge in shots on goal (8-7). In net for MIT, Rankin totaled three saves in 54 minutes while Cannon had the same production in 36 minutes to go along with the win. Longo finished the night with five saves.
Both squads will continue play on Saturday, Oct. 29. MIT will visit NEWMAC foe Wheaton College for its regular-season finale while Wentworth will begin postseason action in The Commonwealth Coast Conference Championship Tournament.