Sept. 27, 2007
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - MIT remained undefeated at home courtesy of a hard-fought 1-0 victory over non-conference opponent Bates College on Thursday afternoon at Steinbrenner Stadium. Junior tri-captain Andrew Bishara's 73rd minute free kick found the back of the net and the Engineers' defense held firm, as the Cardinal and Gray moved to 4-0-1 at home and 5-2-1 overall.
Bates, a member of the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC), dropped to 1-4-1 with the loss. The Bobcats became the second NESCAC team to fall to Tech this season, as the Engineers also defeated Tufts University, 2-1, earlier this campaign.
MIT was anchored in the middle of the field by a strong pair of newcomers, freshman Jason Zhu and sophomore Adam Talsma. The duo's tireless work effort disrupted Bates' offensive flow all game, while they were also key in beginning the Engineers' attack.
Though chances were limited for both sides in the opening half, each team was unfortunate to have a goal ruled out for offside. The Bobcats held a slight 5-4 shot advantage in the first stanza.
Rookie Matt Talpe nearly opened the scoring for MIT in the 48th minute, but was denied by a strong save from Bates goalkeeper Aaron Schleicher. Following a fortuitous deflection, Talpe found himself with the ball at his feet six yards out to the left of goal, but his low drive was beaten away.
The Engineers continued to pour players forward looking for a winner, and they finally received their reward in the 73rd minute. Bishara's in-swinging free kick from the left side wasn't dealt with effectively by the Bates defenders, and Zhu's clever screen was enough to freeze Schleicher, as well. The ball bounced, untouched, into the upper right hand corner of the net to give MIT the 1-0 lead.
With their backs to the wall, the Bobcats began to push forward in a desperate search for a late equalizer, but strong defending and steady goalkeeping from junior Tom Caldwell, who controlled his box immensely well, kept the visitors at bay.
Head coach Milton Gooding was delighted with the result, as well as the overall effort of his team throughout the season to date.
"It's a wonderful achievement for the guys to have gone 2-0 against NESCAC teams," which are widely regarded as some of the best in the nation, Gooding said. "They continue to work hard and improve and I couldn't be happier with the way that the first half of the season has gone."
Caldwell made four saves between the pipes for MIT to earn his third shutout of the season, while Schleicher stopped three shots for the Bobcats.
The Engineers will finish out their mini three-game home-stand on Saturday morning, Sept. 29, against New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference foe Coast Guard, in a match that is slated for a 10:30 a.m. kickoff. Bates will host NESCAC opponent Tufts at 2:00 p.m., also on Saturday.