November 12, 2011

Engineers Upset Denison, 4-1, One Win away from National Semifinals

BRUNSWICK, Maine – Junior Kimberly Barker (Camden, N.Y.) was tremendous, scoring a pair of goals and adding two more assists, to help the nationally-ranked No. 20 MIT field hockey team knock off eighth-seeded Denison University, 4-1, in the second round of the NCAA Division III field hockey championship on Saturday. With the win, MIT sets a new program record for wins in a single season (19-3) and moves on to the regional final on Sunday against top-ranked and unbeaten Bowdoin College.

The Engineers will face the host Polar Bears, winners of three of the last four national titles, on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. The winner of that game will advance to the national semifinals, to be held at Nichols College next weekend.

Barker helped the Cardinal and Gray jump out to an early 2-0 lead, assisting on the game's first two scores. She found Anna Teruya (Hockessin, Del.) for the first marker just over 13 minutes into the game and then fed leading scorer Kameron Klauber (Carlsbad, Calif.) five minutes later, to put Tech ahead by two.

The Big Red would strike back quickly, as Catie Merrick (Owings Mills, Md.) made it 2-1 with less than 20 minutes gone by. That score would hold up into the intermission, as the Cardinal and Gray had a number of excellent first half opportunities, outshooting Denison 18-1 in the period.

Barker would account for the only second half scoring, knocking home a pair of unassisted markers to help send MIT into the quarterfinals of the NCAA championship for the first time in program history. The junior tipped in a rebound midway through the stanza and then added her second tally in the final minute.

For the game, MIT held significant advantages in shots (35-7) and penalty corners (15-4). Casey Landry (Peabody, Mass.) and Jenna Klein (Parma, Ohio) split time in net, combining for a pair of saves and allowing just the lone Denison goal.

Tech was able to solve a Denison defense that had stymied its opponents all year long. The Big Red entered the game allowing just 0.47 goals per game and their season high goals against for the year was three, in an October loss to DePauw.

Bowdoin (18-0) defeated Keene State, 4-0, to advance to the quarterfinal round. The Polar Bears won the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) championship to earn an automatic bid into the championship. The game will be the sixth meeting between the two programs but first since 2002. The Engineers are 0-5 in the previous matchups.