October 18, 2011

Engineers Edge Out Wellesley, 2-1, in Overtime

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Midway through the first overtime period, freshman Ambika Krishnamachar (Darien, Conn.) sent a 20-yard blast from the far side that sailed into the top corner of the net and lifted the MIT women's soccer team to a 2-1 victory over Wellesley College in a NEWMAC contest on Tuesday. Krishnamachar registered the Engineers' second game-winning goal in a row as they improved to 9-3-2 on the year and 4-1-2 in conference play.

The game was an up-tempo back-and-forth affair that yielded a total of 17 shots, 11 of which were on goal. Wellesley had a 4-1 advantage in corner kicks, as it earned three in the first half.

MIT nearly opened the scoring in the 13th minute on a header by Krishnamachar from the middle of the box but goalie Claire Cerda deflected the point-blank attempt. Less than 10 minutes later, Cerda came up with a diving stop on junior Emily Kuo's (Chicago, Ill.) redirected free kick.

The Blue's best effort of the frame occurred moments later when Megan Turchi sent a 25-yard free kick into the box. Junior goalie Meghan Wright (Devon, Pa.) stopped the ball but she couldn't hold on to it. The Cardinal and Gray cleared it out to the near side; however, Gayron Berman maintained the pressure as she immediately sent it back at Wright.

The Engineers ended the shutout in the 30th minute when Kuo sent a pass back to freshman Elena Gianotas (Trabuco Canyon, Calif.). She lobbed a shot from 35 yards away that glanced off the bottom of the crossbar and into the net for the first goal of her career.

Throughout the half, Wellesley's Ariel Chao generated several threatening scoring attempts unfortunately her bids were either wide of the net or her teammates were unable to corral her crosses. During the early stages of the second stanza she pursued a loose ball on the outskirts of the box, causing Wright to come off her line and make a sliding grab. Later on, Chao hit a low roller that Wright smothered at the near post.

Sophomore Allison Park (Irvine, Calif.) almost tacked on an insurance goal in the 76th and 87th minutes. Her first bid came on a strike from the top of the box that was turned away by goalie S.J. Gray's leap at the near post. On her next try, Park sent a low shot from the far side which was blocked by Turchi a few yards away from the goal.

On the counterattack, a deflection by MIT's backline made its way to Ava Mokhtari on the far side just outside of the box. A quick pass went to Emily Wilson who drew Wright off her line and sent a strike to the near post with 2:24 remaining in regulation.

The Engineers' attack quickly emerged in the extra session as Kuo's attempt after 34 seconds elapsed was just over the crossbar. Four minutes later, Amanda Young sent a cross into the box that was redirected by Chelsea-Ann Patry as she fell to the ground, but Wright thwarted the scoring bid. MIT then ended the deadlock on its ensuing trip downfield.

Wright finished with five saves for the Engineers. Cerda turned away two shots in the first half while Gray made one stop for the Blue.

Both squads will host NEWMAC foes on Saturday, Oct. 22. MIT will take on the U.S. Coast Guard Academy while Wellesley (3-10-3, 2-5-0 NEWMAC) will square off with WPI.