Ephs top MIT, stumble at Babson

Fresh off a home victory against Bowdoin on Sept. 25, men’s soccer (4-2-1, 3-1-1 in the NESCAC) traveled to MIT last Saturday and Babson last Sunday. The team lost 1-0 to Babson, unable to fight back from a Beaver goal in the 67th minute.

Co-captain Nick Pugliese ’12
Co-captain Nick Pugliese ’12 dribbles the ball as the men shut out MIT 1-0 last Saturday. Photo by Todd Brenner.

The loss came after a 1-0 victory over MIT.

The men were without co-captain Matt Ratajczak ’13 throughout the weekend, as the center-back missed his second and third consecutive games due to concussion. Starting striker Dan Morrisroe ’12 also sat out the weekend with a concussion. Starting center-back Doug Weinrib ’13 joined Morrisroe and Ratajczak, sitting out on Sunday with a calf strain.

In the first half of Sunday’s match against Babson, neither team was able to create many scoring chances, as the attacking strikers were frustrated by both sides’ defenses. The best scoring opportunity came in the closing minutes of the opening period off a dangerous Beaver throw-in, but Eph keeper Peter Morrell ’14 knocked the ball off the line to keep the game scoreless at the half.

The back-and-forth battling in the game finally led to a goal in the second half, when Babson’s Eric Anderson scored on a header to break the deadlock in the 67th minute. Anderson managed to connect on a long ball played by Babson’s Bryan Rust from left of the box, knocking the ball past Morrell and into the right side of the net. Babson assumed a 1-0 advantage.

Down by a goal, the men pressed forward and tried to create chances in the closing minutes. They nearly scored in the 80th minute, as striker Matt Kastner ’14 put a header on net. His effort deflected off the right crossbar, however, and the men could not cut into Babson’s lead.

“We didn’t take advantage of our scoring opportunities and they did. That was the difference,” Head Coach Michael Russo said.

Babson managed to maintain its lead to the game’s conclusion, serving the men their second loss of the season. “It was a disappointing loss, as our guys competed for the full 90 minutes,” Russo added.

There were 23 fouls in the game, and each team received one yellow card. Williams attempted 13 shots, while Babson recorded 12 shots.

The loss to Babson came a day after a 1-0 victory at MIT on Saturday.

The game got off to a slow start, as the Ephs looked sluggish early on and did not create many chances in the opening minutes. The men picked up their offensive game after the first 15 minutes, however, and scored in the 33rd minute. Throw-in specialist Weinrib launched a long throw toward net. Vestergaard, sprinting through the box, headed the ball and directed it past the Engineers’ keeper, giving the Ephs a 1-0 lead. The men controlled most of the period, attempting six shots to MIT’s two and entered halftime up by a goal.

MIT applied more pressure in the second half: The Engineers fired nine shots on goal in the period, while the Ephs only managed five. “We took our foot off the pedal and let MIT back into the game,” Russo said.

The Ephs’ defense held strong, though, and keeper Than Finan ’13 was able to keep a clean sheet as the Ephs held on for a 1-0 victory.

“We lost our composure when they were pushing to equalize in the final 10 minutes, but we held on, and I was pleased with the result,” Russo said.

The teams committed six fouls each, and neither team had a yellow card.

The men will take on rival Amherst at home on Sunday at 11 a.m. on Cole Field. They will then host Westfield St. on Tuesday at 4:15 p.m.