HAVERFORD, Pa. - At the first round of the NCAA tournament on a sunny fall day in Pennsylvania, the MIT women's soccer team advanced over Haverford in penalty kicks, 4-2, in front of hundreds of screaming fans. This is the first time in program history that the Engineers have made it this far in their season. MIT will face the College of New Jersey in the second round of the tournament tomorrow.
The ball spent a good deal of the first half in MIT territory, keeping senior goalie Meghan Wright (Devon, Pa.) on her toes for the entire 45 minute period. Before the game had reached its tenth minute, she had already had three impressive high saves. With eight minutes remaining in the half and a score of 0-0, junior Kaitlyn Nealon (Yorktown Heights, N.Y.) blocked a promising Haverford shot from about ten yards out.
Haverford's best chance at a goal came about five minutes into the second period following an MIT foul, resulting in a free kick by Sarah Hoffman that went just high of the crossbar. One of the Engineers' best shots at a goal came in the 65th minute when freshman Jennifer Ibanez (West Windsor, N.J.) hit the crossbar. At the end of the second period, Wright had seven saves while the Fords' Robin Chernow had four.
Sophomore Ambika Krishnamachar (Darien, Conn.) took the lone shot of the first overtime period, which went slightly wide of the net. In the second ten minute period, MIT outshot Haverford, 2-1, one of which by sophomore Michelle Battipaglia (Katonah, N.Y.) had to be saved.
Senior Andrea Park (Chicago, Ill.), sophomore Elena Gianotas (Trabuco Canyon, Calif.), junior Rachel Dias Carlson (Albany, N.Y.) and Battipaglia took part in the first round of penalty kicks, all of which were successful. Wright, who only allowed two of the four shots to go in, had a great block on the second PK, booting the ball clear out of the net.
The Engineers will return to the Haverford field tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. to face TCNJ in the second round of NCAAs.