CAMBRDIGE, Mass. – Great defense combined with an impressive 15 saves by junior goalkeeper Sam Cannon (Scarsdale, N.Y.) led the MIT men's soccer team to a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Tufts University on Wednesday evening. The defensive-minded Jumbos came into the game having allowed just five goals all season, shutting out seven competitors. Tech is now 8-3-1 for the season, while Tufts dipped to 5-4-1.
Tufts took possession of the ball early on in the first half and maintained control for most of the period. A corner kick by Monil Patel less than 20 minutes in almost resulted in the first goal of the game when the ball was headed directly at the crossbar, bouncing out of play before any more damage could be done. Two minutes later, another Tufts' shot hit the crossbar, indicating the pace at which this game was bound to move. The ball spent the majority of the first period in MIT territory but the Engineers' defense always cleared the ball before it got too close to the net.
With 17 minutes left on the clock, a strong shot kicked by senior Matthew Monheit (Abington, Pa.) just grazed over the crossbar. Junior Chester Chambers (Columbia, Md.) and sophomore Sean Bingham (Garden City, N.Y.) put together a great play a few minutes later, with Chambers feeding the ball directly to Bingham inside the box but it was just over Bingham's head and the ball rolled out of bounds. With his 12 goals so far this season, Bingham is ranked sixth in the country for Division III.
With just over 10 minutes left in the half, Monheit received a clean pass from Chambers, cut down the near side and shot to the far post, scoring his fourth goal of the season and giving MIT a 1-0 lead. With four minutes remaining, Cannon had a great save, pushing the ball just wide of the net to preserve Tech's lead.
MIT returned to the field for the second half aggressive as ever; sophomore Austin Freel (San Diego, Calif.) took a shot that went just wide of the far post a minute into the period. About five minutes in, Tufts had a string of opportunities to score the equalizer. Max Hoppenot headed the ball point blank at the net, which was pushed out by a diving Cannon. Four minutes later, Cannon made an amazing save when he pushed the ball fired by Kyle Volpe out of the net with just his fingers and made another diving save seconds later.
Many times throughout the game, Tufts were able to break deep into MIT territory, taking numerous shots from inside the box but with the help of senior Andrew Fijan (West Chester, Pa.) and junior Jason Adler (Scarsdale, N.Y.), who made multiple blocks each throughout the game, most shots were turned away before they reached Cannon. With Tufts unable to find the break that it needed, the game ended with an MIT victory.
The Jumbos outshot the Engineers, 32-18, with Cannon having to make 15 saves compared to Nick Moesers' seven. Freel led Tech with his seven shots, three of which had to be saved.
MIT will host Clark University in a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) game on Saturday, Oct. 19 at 1:00 p.m.