November 9, 2013

Men’s Soccer Advances Past Coast Guard in Penalty Kicks

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - Host and No. 1 seed MIT advanced past No. 4 seed Coast Guard in penalty kicks, 5-4, at the semifinals of the 2013 New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Tournament on Saturday morning. After remaining tied at 1-1 through two overtime periods, it came down to a battle of the goalkeepers in the shootout, with the Bears' junior goalie Richie Burns (Long Beach, Calif.) firing at the net and having his shot saved by a diving MIT sophomore Jake Amereno (Commack, N.Y.) to end the game.

The Engineers will face No. 2 seed Wheaton College at the championship final tomorrow at 12:00 p.m., as the Lyons defeated the Babson Beavers by a score of 5-1 later that same afternoon. Coast Guard ended its season with a record of 9-7-4.

MIT had its first opportunity at a goal just a minute and a half into the game when senior Matthew Monheit (Abington, Pa.) took a shot from inside the box that flew to the left side of the net but was kicked out by a Coast Guard defender that was waiting in the cage. The Bears had a chance 15 minutes later when Matt Epperly broke past defenders and shot into an open net but the ball went just wide. At the 27 minute mark, the Bears' Kyle Grell headed the ball directly at the net but Amereno was able to punch it just over the crossbar to keep the score locked at zero.

The ball spent the first five minutes of the second period in Coast Guard territory but MIT was held to zero shots during that time due to the Bears' impressive defense. Still scoreless, the Engineers' freshman Alex McCullumsmith (Mountain Brook, Ala.) took a shot with nine minutes remaining on the clock that skated just over the crossbar. At 85:16, following a clean pass from inside the box from MIT junior Nicholas Diamantoni (Boca Raton, Fla.), Monheit gave the Cardinal and Gray a one goal lead when he pocketed the ball in the left side of the net past a diving Burns.

Coast Guard did not allow this lead to stand for long, as Jasen Kingsley tied the score just two minutes later when he headed the ball over Amereno's outstretched hands off a free kick by Robert Chamberlain. With little time left on the clock for either team to score another goal, the game went to overtime.

Tech controlled play in the first overtime period, taking four shots during the 10 minutes, three of which had to be saved. The Bears were held to zero shots during this time.

Coast Guard saw more action in the second overtime period, taking four shots, with all but one of them having to be saved by Amereno. The Engineers took six shots but only two had to be saved. With the score still tied at one, the game was sent into a penalty kick shootout.

For MIT, sophomore Austin Freel (San Diego, Calif.), Monheit, freshman Kareem Itani (Dallas, Texas) and senior Jonathan Tebes (Hamden, Conn.) all connected on their penalty attempts. Coast Guard's John Rendon, Walter Heaney, John Tarzian, and Richard Davies were also successful, tying the teams at four. The Engineers' senior Andrew Fijan (West Chester, Pa.) gave MIT a 5-4 edge before Burns stepped up to face Amereno. Burns kicked a low ball to the left side of the net but Amereno anticipated his move, diving to make the save and ending the game.

MIT outshot Coast Guard, 30-17, with Burns having to make an impressive 15 saves compared to Amereno's 10.