CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – With two goals by junior Ambika Krishnamachar (Darien, Conn.) and one by sophomore Amma Okwara (Charlotte, N.C.), the MIT women's soccer team defeated Salem State University by a score of 3-1 on a picturesque Tuesday evening in Cambridge. This was the Engineers' final non-conference game of the season. Tech is now 10-2-3 on the season, while the Vikings dipped to 5-6-2.
The game got off to a quick start when, four minutes into the first half, senior Kaitlyn Nealon (Yorktown Heights, N.Y.) sent the ball flying at the net off a free kick and keeper Rachel Ledbetter had to drop to her knees in order to save it. At the nine minute mark, Ledbetter had another impressive save when Krishnamachar made it past all defenders and fired a shot directly at her, but the sophomore goalie was able to prevent the shot from going in the net.
Just over a minute later, however, Krishnamachar was able to sneak the ball past Ledbetter to score the first goal of the game, breaking past the defenders to shoot to the center of the net. Less than 20 minutes later, Okwara scored her second goal of the season following a cross from junior Jessica Ong (Oklahoma City, Okla.). Okwara shot the ball at the left side of the net, it hit the goalie's hands and, instead of punching the ball over the crossbar as was intended, the ball was tipped into the net.
The MIT defense played very strongly, working together to block a Salem State shot by a player that was running directly at freshman keeper Lauren Ullmann (Princeton, N.J.). With 18 minutes left on the clock, classmate Victoria Gregory (Syracuse, N.Y.) put up a good effort to block a shot taken from inside the box and the Engineers went into the second half with a two goal lead.
A minute after returning to the field, Krishnamachar scored her second goal of the game and her team-leading seventh of the season off a throw in by fellow junior Michelle Battipaglia (Katonah, N.Y.). Three minutes later, following a free kick by Nealon, Okwara almost headed her second goal of the night into the net, but it went just wide of the cage. Five minutes later, a shot taken by Kelly Birchmore hit the crossbar, revealing what the Vikings were capable of doing. Okwara got past defenders and took another shot at the net but Ledbetter got in the way to thwart the attack.
With 12 minutes remaining in the game, Amy Griffith got Salem State on the board, kicking the ball sent to her off a corner kick by Veronica Poirier past the hands of freshman Hannah Zlotnick (Rochester, N.Y.). With time quickly running out, another Viking fired directly at the box but the shot was impressively cleared by freshman Anjali Krishnamachar (Darien, Conn.) to ensure that the score stayed at 3-1. With not enough time to do any more damage, the game ended with an MIT victory.
Salem State outshot MIT barely, 16-15. Ledbetter made four saves compared to Zlotnick's four and Ullmann's three. Ullmann earned the win and improved to 8-2-3 on the season.
Tech will host its final home game of the 2013 season on Saturday, Oct. 26 at 1:00 p.m., welcoming Babson College to campus for a tough New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) matchup. This will also be the Engineers' Senior Day.