WILLIAMSTOWN, MA - Despite strong Eph offensive counters, Massachusetts Institute of Technology maintained a lead against Williams throughout the entire game to secure the Engineers' first win over the Ephs in program history.
With just three minutes left in the first half, Savannah Lawrence of the MIT Engineers (11-1-2) volleyed the ball into the back of the net to score the first goal of their non-conference match against the Williams Ephs (7-3-1 / 5-2 in the NESCAC). This started the momentum that eventually lead to a final score of 1-3, in favor of MIT.
The first near-scoring play came in the beginning of the first half for the MIT Engineers. A corner kick from Emily Berzolla bounced to the head of Maya Nielan, whose shot was deflected by Williams Victoria Laino '21. This deflection resulted in another shot by Nielan, which was again blocked by Laino, and cleared away towards the Williams offense by Claire Tolliver '23.
As the minutes wound down in the first half, and the score remained at 0-0, the intensity of the play increased. Both teams resulted in a combined fifteen fouls. With just three minutes left before the end of the first half, MIT earned a corner kick, crossed into the box by midfielder Jessica Sonner. Sonner's ball was knocked down in front of the near-sided goal post by Ephs goalie Chelsea Taylor '22 as she collided with another MIT forward. The ball bounced from Taylor's hands into the head of MIT's Emma Rutherford, who redirected the ball to the feet of Savannah Lawrence, who touched the ball into the Eph's net.
The Ephs retaliated quickly with a through-ball from Laino in the center of the midfield to the feet of defender Sarah Kelly '20. Kelly stepped up into the offensive line and placed a ball diagonally across the box, just missing Jasmine Moore '23, for the most dangerous play of the half for the Ephs. The first half concluded with the score of MIT 1, Williams 0.
The second half was marked by significant offensive pressure from the MIT Engineers. Taylor made multiple diving saves for the Ephs within the first ten minutes of the half, and was aided by strong defensive play from her teammates.
In the 57th minute, Berzolla had another corner-kick for the Engineers. Her ball bounced around the box, touched by MIT Eva Anderson, towards the feet of Allie Werner, who volleyed the bouncing ball into the back of the net, making the score 0-2, in favor of MIT.
The Ephs found redemption in the 72nd minute of the game. A ball played into the top of the box by Williams defender Nkem Iregbulem '20 resulted in a foul on MIT Maya Nielan on Laino, giving Williams a well-placed free position kick. Laino took the kick and sent the ball into the top left corner of the net, without it being touched by any other players. Laino's goal put Williams on the scoreboard, making the score 1-2.
Despite the change of momentum caused by Laino's goal for the Ephs, the Engineers responded with another goal just three minutes later. To generate their third goal of the game, a ball was sent into the box by the MIT defense, and landed at the feet of MIT Emily Larson. Larson passed the ball to Rutherford, who sent the ball just over the hands of Taylor and into the back of the net.
The Ephs did not stop their offensive tries until the last whistle. With ten minutes to go, Tolliver found the ball at her feet towards the right side of the field, and then sent a ball flying towards the MIT goal. Goalie Ava Gillikin made a diving save, sending the ball out of bounds, and giving Williams a corner kick, that resulted in another nearly-missed shot.
The Ephs will be facing off against a NESCAC opponent, the Bates College Bobcats, at 11am on Saturday, October 19th, on Cole Field.