Women's Soccer Moves On To NEWMAC Championship After Blanking Wheaton, 2-0

Freshman Montana Reilly and sophomore Allie Hrabchak
Freshman Montana Reilly and sophomore Allie Hrabchak

THE BASICS:

- Score: MIT 2, Wheaton College 0 (NEWMAC Tournament Semifinals)

- Records: MIT (17-4-1); Wheaton College (14-8-0)

- Location: Worcester, Mass. (Alumni Field)

- The Lead: The second-seeded MIT women's soccer team blanked sixth-seeded Wheaton College, 2-0, on Saturday afternoon in the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Tournament Semifinals at Alumni Field. With the win, MIT will advance to its fifth ever title game – the first since 2013 - and will face off against top-seeded WPI (15-2-2) for the chance at an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament at 1:00 p.m. tomorrow afternoon in Worcester.

HOW IT HAPPENED:

- The game was scoreless until the 26th minute when junior Olivia Struckman (Scottsdale, Ariz.) took the ball off a great feed by freshman Emily Berzolla (Riverside, Conn.) and buried it into the upper left corner of the net for her team-best eighth goal of the season.

- Wheaton goalkeeper Alexa Barbagallo kept it a one goal deficit for the Lyons when she made a great save on a shot by freshman Montana Reilly (Los Angeles, Calif.) with just eight minutes to play. A few moments later, sophomore Allie Hrabchak (Princeton, N.J.) sealed MIT's spot in the championship match when she rocketed a rebounded attempt initiated by senior Elizabeth Porter (Brookfield, Conn.) for the 2-0 advantage.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS:

- MIT outshot Wheaton by a 22-5 margin and held a 5-2 advantage in corner kicks. Fifteen of MIT's 22 shot attempts came over the final 45-minutes of play after only taking seven in the opening stanza.

- MIT senior netminder Lauren Ullmann (Princeton, N.J.) improved to 17-4-1 and earned her 11th clean sheet of the year in between the pipes this afternoon – two shutouts shy of tying the program record. Barbagallo played the final 24:30 and made four saves for the Lyons off the bench, while Leann Wolf made the start (10-7-0) for Wheaton and stopped the ball seven times.

- The Engineers are 3-4-4 all-time in NEWMAC semifinal matches and will be playing in their fifth NEWMAC title game tomorrow where they are 1-1-2 - both ties were eventually won by MIT in penalty kicks.

- Tomorrow's NEWMAC Championship match against WPI will only the third postseason meeting between the two programs. Both times, MIT won the contest – 2001 and 2009 in the quarterfinals (2-1, 4-0 finals).

UP NEXT:

- MIT will take on top-seeded WPI tomorrow afternoon at 1:00 p.m. in Worcester in the NEWMAC Championship match. The winner will receive the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, while the loser will have to wait on a potential at-large bid when selections are announced on Monday, November 7th.

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