Women's Soccer Blanks Babson on Senior Day, 4-0

Seniors Michaelann Rodriguez, Rachel Dias Carlson, Kaitlyn Nealon, Samantha Fleischmann
Seniors Michaelann Rodriguez, Rachel Dias Carlson, Kaitlyn Nealon, Samantha Fleischmann

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – A goal by junior Michelle Battipaglia (Katonah, N.Y.) with just a minute remaining in the first half was all the MIT women's soccer team needed to defeat New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) rival Babson College on Senior Day, ending its final home game of the regular season with a 4-0 victory on a windy Saturday afternoon. Tech improved to 11-2-3 and 6-1-1 in NEWMAC play, while the Beavers dipped to 9-4-3 and 4-3-2 in league action. With their win, the Engineers are now tied for second in the conference with Springfield and one win behind Wheaton College.

Both teams went into this game with great stats behind them; up until this point in the season, the Beavers had scored 29 goals and had only allowed 10. The Engineers had very similar stats, having scored 28 and allowed eight.

The game started slowly, as neither team was able to settle before the ball was stolen away by the opponents. With 25 minutes remaining on the clock, Babson keeper Melina Kapotsis had a great save when junior Ambika Krishnamachar (Darien, Conn.) broke past one defender and shot past the other from inside the box. Senior Kaitlyn Nealon (Yorktown Heights, N.Y.), one of four seniors who was playing in her final home game of the regular season, had a good block a few minutes later when Jessica DiPhilippo, one of the Beavers' top goal scorers this season, got too close to the MIT net, sending the ball out of play. At 43:48, Battipaglia put Tech on the board with her second goal of the season following a cross from Krishnamachar, firing past Kapotsis and burying the ball in the top left corner of the net.

Eleven minutes after returning to the field for the second half, Krishnamachar scored her eighth of the season, firing a rocket to the right side and just out of arm's reach of the keeper. A few minutes later, freshman goalie Lauren Ullmann (Princeton, N.J.) got her first touch of the game, saving a shot by Kristina Simonson. At the 78 minute mark, after a pass from junior Ashley Peter (Manhasset, N.Y.), freshman Kathleen Chen (Chappaqua, N.Y.) scored her first collegiate goal, slipping past the defenders inside the box to find the back of the net. Two minutes later, junior Faith OBrian (Raleigh, N.C.) brought MIT's total to four goals when she shot at the net and the ball took a deflection off a few Babson players, hitting the crossbar and tipping into the net. Both goalies made one more save each but there was little the Beavers could do to lessen the gap, and time elapsed.

MIT outshot Babson, 20-8. Kapotsis had to make seven saves throughout the game while Ullmann, who improved to 9-2-3 on the season, only had to make three. Krishnamachar led Tech with her six shots, four of which were on goal.

Tech has just two more regular season games, both of which are conference matchups that will be played on the road, before the NEWMAC Tournament begins. The Engineers will first face Emerson College at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 29 before playing against the U.S. Coast Guard Academy at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 2. The first round of NEWMACs will begin in just over a week on Tuesday, Nov. 5, while the semifinals and finals will be played on Nov. 9 and 10.