Oct. 18, 2008
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Despite a furious charge by the U.S. Coast Guard Academy during the final three minutes of regulation, the MIT men’s soccer team held on for a 2-1 victory in a New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) contest on Saturday. The Engineers, ranked fifth in the latest National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) New England poll, improved to 13-1-1 on the year and 4-0-0 in conference action while the Bears dropped to 7-6-0 overall and 2-2-0 in the NEWMAC.
The early stages of the game were a defensive battle as numerous scoring opportunities were turned away on both sides. MIT eventually broke through in the 31st minute courtesy of a free kick. Kevin Chou’s service from the near side was barely punched out by Coast Guard goalie Tim Olah but the ball caromed off David Nole’s head and into the upper right corner of the net.
The Bears had two quality chances to register the equalizer during the last eight minutes off the half. Nate Wojcik found himself in a one-on-one situation with MIT netminder Dylan Rankin but Wojcik was unable to get his right foot completely on the ball. Five minutes later, David O’Brien sent a dangerous throughball down the near sideline, unfortunately Coast Guard was unable to corral the ball for a shot.
MIT wasted little time in the second half as it extended its lead to 2-0 after three minutes elapsed. On a throw-in by Neil Zimmerman, the ball landed in front of the net and was surrounded by several players. Andrew Bishara managed to redirect the ball for his first goal of the season. The Bears nearly cut their deficit in half on a point-blank header by Thomas Cameron in the 58th minute that was smothered by Rankin. Coast Guard continued to attack and denied the Engineers their ninth shutout of the season in the 79th minute. Wojcik gathered a feed from Jacob Larsen on the near side and sent the ball to the far left corner.
The intensity from both sides increased down the stretch, resulting in six fouls, five shots, and four corner kicks. With five minutes to go, Zachary Kabelac dribbled around three defenders in front of the goal but he couldn’t raise MIT’s margin. The Bears earned a pair of free kicks inside the final three minutes, however both opportunities were thwarted.
In net, Rankin collected six saves for the Engineers while Olah made eight stops for Coast Guard.
Both squads will return to non-conference play next week. MIT will host Johnson & Wales University on Tuesday, Oct. 21 while Coast Guard will have a home match-up with Albertus Magnus College on Wednesday, Oct. 22.