Engineers Edge WPI, 1-0, in NEWMAC Quarterfinal
Nov. 5, 2008
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - David Nole's header in the 71st minute off a throw-in by Neil Zimmerman was all MIT needed as it emerged with a 1-0 victory over WPI in a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Men's Soccer Championship Tournament quarterfinal contest on Wednesday. No. 2-seeded MIT (15-2-2) will travel to Babson College on Saturday, Nov. 8 to square off with No. 6 Wheaton College in semifinal action. No. 7 WPI concluded its season with an overall record of 8-8-1.
WPI nearly opened the scoring 15 minutes into the game as Tommy Zajac's shot barely sailed over the crossbar. MIT almost got on the board in the 31st minute on Zachary Kabelac's breakaway, but WPI goalie Paul Moan came up with one of his three first-half saves. WPI's defense thwarted two key scoring opportunities for the hosts during the final 10 minutes of the frame. Christian Therkelsen sent the ball over the visitors' defense which was chased down by Kabelac, who was immediately swarmed by the visiting Engineers. With 3:34 on the clock, Therkelsen sent a blast that hit the far post and landed at Kabelac's feet. His ensuing shot was blocked by the defense, maintaining the deadlock through the intermission.
Less than two minutes into the second stanza MIT was awarded a free kick at the top of the box. Therkelsen's strike hit the face of the crossbar and bounced straight down in front of the goal line. Nole's header on the rebound arced above the top left corner out of harms way. WPI had a chance to break through in the 69th minute when a header by Ben Gilde went to the far side of the box, but the Engineers' attack couldn't corral the ball for a potential open net strike.
MIT eventually ended the scoreless affair in the 71st minute. Zimmerman sent a deep throw from the far sideline to the middle of the box. Nole quickly redirected the ball to the top right corner of the goal for his fifth tally of the season. WPI nearly registered the equalizer four minutes later. Dominic DeChiara sprinted downfield, passing his defender en route, but his open look at the net was high. The host-Engineers had a chance to notch an insurance goal in the 79th minute. Receiving a free kick along the near sideline, Jason Zhu's pass went through the wall but Matthew Wzorek blocked the potential goal with his outstretched right leg.
MIT peppered WPI's defense, amassing 21 shots while surrendering only eight. The home squad also enjoyed a 6-3 edge in corner kicks. MIT netminder Tom Caldwell did not face a shot on goal as he collected his ninth shutout of the season and the 19th of his career. Moan finished the night with eight saves for WPI.