Babson Outduels MIT in Advancing to NEWMAC Semifinals
Oct. 28, 2006
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - For the second time in four days, Babson and MIT battled to a 1-1 overtime draw in women's soccer. Unlike the regular-season finale, which gave the Engineers a home game in the quarterfinals of the NEWMAC Tournament, Saturday's rain-soaked tilt went to a shootout, where rookie Sam Bartman finished on the Beavers final attempt to give Babson a 3-2 edge and keep the Beavers in contention for a postseason league championship and an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
The first half of Saturday's match was eerily similar to Tuesday's affair as Babson dominated possession and enjoyed most of the scoring chances. MIT senior keeper Kat Vater continued to shine in her final campaign donning the Cardinal and Gray, making seven saves in the opening frame.
MIT actually posted the best early scoring opportunity as Katie Pesce's rocket from 20-yards out slammed off the top of the crossbar in the 26th minute. Babson had a goal-line opportunity off a corner soon after, but the MIT defense cleared the threat.
In the 37th minute, Babson delivered the best scoring chance of the half. Caitlin Cronin fired a shot from 10 yards out that was stopped by Vater. The rebound landed on the foot of a Babson player, but the close follow-up was pushed just wide of the goal.
Three minutes into the second half, a critical mistake nearly led to the game's first marker. Babson junior Shir Castel put a shot on net from about eight yards out on the left side. Vater tried to clear the ball off the line, although the ball hit off the side of her foot, bounced off the post, and rebounded back to Vater's shoe, where she punted the ball safely out of danger.
Babson finally broke the deadlock in the 53rd minute as junior Nikki Stier made good on a 20-yard blast that sailed over the head of Vater and into the upper left-hand corner of the net. The goal looked incredibly emotional for both benches, which were battling increasingly difficult field conditions and a driving, windy rain.
Despite giving up the first score, MIT answered back in the 58th minute. Taking advantage of one of its three corner kick opportunities, Andrea Staid delivered a near-perfect cross that rookie Liz Theurer cleanly headed into the goal for the improbably quick equalizer.
The weather conditions changed the momentum in the second half, and Babson, which managed 29 shots in the team's previous meeting, only had four shots in the second half. MIT maintained possession in the Beavers end for long stretches late in the half and had several chances to take the lead. In the 83rd minute, Staid fired a shot from 20-yards out that was tipped just wide by Babson net minder Sam Scarpato. Less than a minute later, junior Amy Ludlum hit the post off another corner attempt. Babson had a great chance of its own in the 90th minute, but a ball played across the middle of the goal couldn't be secured.
With the rain continuing to deteroriate the playing conditions, there were few opportunities for either team in the overtime sessions. Castel hit the top of the bar for Babson with five minutes left in the second overtime, while Vater snagged a header by Stier inside the final minute of play.
MIT's Janine Hopmans and Pesce, and Babson's Anna Collins and Callie Pilling exchanged goals in the shootout to give each team two successful conversions. After MIT missed high on its last attempt, Bartman confidently buried the game-winner. Vater finished with 11 saves in the match for the Engineers, while Scarpato made two stops for the Beavers.