Oct. 24, 2006
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - Junior forward Nikki Stier finished on a penalty kick in the 44th minute as Babson College salvaged a 1-1 tie against MIT at Steinbrenner Stadium, Tuesday afternoon. The goal saved an otherwise disheartening defeat for the Beavers, who dominated the regular-season finale and out shot MIT, 29-9.
Babson (9-4-4, 4-2-3 NEWMAC) applied heavy pressure from the outset, and peppered MIT (10-6-1, 5-3-1) keeper Kat Vater with numerous chances near the net. MIT's opportunities came in spurts during the first half, and often on counter-attacks. Janine Hopmans had the first good look about nine minutes in, but a Babson defender blocked a shot that appeared headed for the goal.
Babson responded with several more chances, including a series of plays in which the MIT defense blocked a shot on net, while a strong follow-up blast was saved by Vater. Several minutes later, rookie Anna Collins posted a shot from the door-step, but once again Vater was there to make the save.
Enduring the quick assault, MIT stunned the Babson bench with a goal in the 21st minute. Junior Amy Ludlum made a push down the right side line, made a move back toward the middle, then another juke to slip past two defenders before firing a shot into the far post beyond the diving save attempt of rookie Sam Scarpato.
Despite surrendering the early goal, the Beavers were quickly back on attack. Right after subbing into the match, sophomore Ingrid Osterholm put a great shot on net only to be denied by another outstanding save. Babson finally cracked the scoreboard in the 44th minute, only it wasn't its vaunted offense that triggered the equalizer.
After a missed scoring opportunity on the other end, Babson quickly pushed the ball up the pitch. Stier carried the ball about 20 yards and into the MIT box before being knocked down from behind by an MIT defender. Not wasting a golden opportunity, Stier scored clean in the near post to leave the match leveled at one heading into the break.
MIT battled back in the second half, although the Engineers had to feel fortunate after giving up 13 shots and coming up on the short side of an 8-0 advantage in corner kicks during the first frame.
The Beavers nearly took the lead three minutes into the second half as Kayla Pomponi delivered a great pass to Shir Castel, who promptly fired a shot right into the chest of Vater. MIT rookie Katie Pesce put Tech's first shot of the half on goal in the 61st minute to enable Scarpato to pick up here first save of the day.
Babson continued its pressure and Vater continued to step up in what had to be one of the best performances of her career. She punched away a great crossing attempt with 11 minutes left in regulation and jumped on a loose ball in the 82nd minute that trickled through a maze of players and dangerously close to the line. In the 84th minute, Caitlin Cronin hit the top post with a thunderous shot, although the Beavers wouldn't get that close again.
Pesce had a great chance for MIT early in the first overtime, although her open look from about 15 yards out sailed high of the goal. Babson sophomore Kristin Schmid had two headers deep in the box during the extra sessions, but was unable to finish as the conference battle settled in a draw.
Playing in the final regular-season game of her career, Vater closed with a personal-high 15 saves in 110 minutes between the pipes, while Scarpato picked up one save for Babson. Babson ended the match with a 12-4 advantage in corner kicks, while the 29 shots were the most-ever for an opponent in the 22-year history of MIT women's soccer.