CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Taking a two goal lead late in the first half, the #22 nationally ranked and third regionally ranked MIT women's soccer team were able to hold on for the remainder of the game to lead the Engineers to a 2-1 win over Tufts University on Tuesday evening. Having only met two times previously, this is the first time in the two teams' short series history that MIT has defeated Tufts. Tech is now 4-1 for the season, while Tufts fell to 0-2.
As they always do, the Cardinal and Gray started the game forcefully, claiming possession of the ball early on and putting keeper Rachel Chazin-Gray to work. Within two minutes of the game starting, MIT had already taken three shots on goal. Freshman goalie Lauren Ullmann (Princeton, N.J.), who is now 4-1 for her first collegiate season in net for the Engineers, saw a lot of action early in the half, saving two shots within two minutes of each other.
Just 10 minutes in, it looked as if the Jumbos might score the first goal of the game when Anya Kaufmann had a great run down the left side of the field, closing in on Ullmann, but her shot was intercepted before it got too close to MIT's goal. Thirty seconds later, a corner kick that was fired by Amanda Neveu went deep into the box and into dangerous territory but it was quickly cleared with one swift kick by junior Faith OBrian (Raleigh, N.C.). At the 27 minute mark, Kaufmann broke past defenders and shot right at the center of the goal but the ball was saved by a diving Ullmann.
At 37:55, after a handful of close calls and good saves by Chazin-Gray, freshman Annelise Steele (Greenwich, Conn.) scored her third goal of the season following a pass from junior Jessica Ong (Oklahoma City, Okla.). The ball was shot clear over the goalie's hands and buried into the top left corner of the net, giving MIT a 1-0 lead. Just over four minutes later, junior Michelle Battipaglia (Katonah, N.Y.) received a pass from classmate Elena Gianotas (Trabuco Canyon, Calif.) and scored her first goal of the season when her shot hit off the crossbar and was caught by the goalie, who was standing too far into the net for it to be counted as a save.
With a 2-0 lead, MIT started the second period confidently, yet aggressively. At 49:21, however, Tufts' Brooke Fortin scored the Jumbos' lone goal of the game and her first of the season when she took a shot at the right corner of the net, just over the hands of a jumping Ullmann. With the game suddenly a lot closer than before, both teams turned up the intensity. At 63:45, Catharine Greer sent a rocket at the net following an MIT foul and the ball was pushed just over the crossbar by Ullmann with the fingertips of her right hand. With 15 minutes remaining on the clock, Battipaglia took a shot that hit off the right post of the Jumbos' goal. With 14 seconds left, Kaufmann took one last shot at the net, a ball that was easily saved by Ullmann. The game ended with an Engineers' victory over the Jumbos, the first in MIT women's soccer history.
MIT outshot Tufts 29-20, with nine of those being saved by the Jumbos' goalkeepers, compared to the 11 that Ullmann saved. Senior Samantha Fleischmann (Eastchester, N.Y.) led MIT with her five shots on goal, while Battipaglia and fellow junior Ambika Krishnamachar (Darien, Conn.) were right behind her with four apiece.
Having played at home for the last three consecutive games, the Engineers will now have a two-game road trip, first traveling down the road to Lesley University on Saturday, Sept. 14 and then heading to Roger Williams University on Tuesday, Sept. 17. They will return home the following Saturday, Sept. 21st to open New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) play against WPI.