Babson Park, Mass. -- November 4, 2012 -- The Springfield College men's soccer team was unable to defend its conference crown as the fifth-seeded MIT Engineers shut out third-seeded Springfield College, 2-0, to earn the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Men’s Soccer Tournament Championship at Babson College’s Hartwell-Rogers Field on Sunday afternoon. .
Along with the league title, the Engineers (13-4-2) received an automatic bid to the 2012 NCAA Division III Tournament.
As a result of his outstanding performances in Sunday’s victory and Saturday’s 2-2 double-overtime tie with top-seeded Babson, Ben Lewis was selected as the Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player. Among his many key plays in the title game was a goal-saving block on a shot that would have given the Pride a 1-0 lead less than 10 minutes in.
Springfield (8-10-2) came out firing early, starting when junior Danny Amato (Newington, Conn.) one-timed a short cross from sophomore Kevin Nowak (Plainsboro, N.J.) just wide of the upper right corner from roughly 18 yards out less than a minute into the contest. Nowak then had one of the Pride’s best chances of the day in the eighth minute, when he beat charging first-year keeper Jake Amereno (Commack, N.Y.) to a loose ball near the top of the box, made a move around the diving goalie, and fired a shot toward the open net. However, Lewis raced back and blocked the would-be goal, and the defense was able to clear the loose ball beyond the end line to keep the contest scoreless.
That play would prove pivotal later in the period, as MIT rattled off two straight goals in a four-minute stretch to take control of the game. The first came at 22:10, when first-year Sean Bingham (Garden City, N.Y.) took a nice feed from sophomore Nick Diamantoni (Belle Mead, N.J.) near the top of the box, took one touch, and chipped a shot over charging Pride goalie Billy Schmid (Wethersfield, Conn.) and in for his team-leading 15th goal of the season.
Just three and a half minutes later, Diamantoni again sparked the Engineers’ offense, as his long cross from the left side was one-timed back toward the 22-yard bubble by junior Tyler Singer-Clark (Falmouth, Mass.). That pass was then settled by junior Jonathan Tebes (Hamden, Conn.), who blasted a shot into the upper right corner for his third marker of the fall and a 2-0 MIT lead at 25:37.
The Engineers received another goal-saving play from its defense with a little over seven minutes left in the first half, this time by Amereno. Springfield junior Drew Vanasse (Concord, Mass.) drilled a long free kick from midfield that glanced off the head of leaping MIT sophomore back Andrew Young (Livingston, N.J.) and toward the upper right corner, but the Engineers’ rookie keeper made a spectacular diving grab to preserve the shutout at 37:45.
MIT nearly made it 3-0 just one minute into the second half, when Schmid’s attempted clear from 18 yards out was intercepted by Diamantoni. However, the sophomore midfielder’s shot over the recovering goalkeeper sailed just over the crossbar.
From that point on, the contest would belong to Lewis and the Engineers’ defense, which did not allow a single shot on net in the entire second half. The Pride’s best three chances of the period all went high, including sophomore Drew Sommer’s (West Chester, Pa.) long bid from 40 yards out that nicked the top of the crossbar as it sailed out of bounds at 69:34.
Nowak had another decent look on a shot from 16 yards out that drifted high at 78:24, and first-year Ryan McAdoo’s (Terryville, Conn.) blast from the top of the box also carried over the crossbar at 86:40.
In addition to his lone official save that came in the first half, Amereno made several outstanding plays in net for MIT, intercepting numerous crosses deep in the box and making a key deflection of a highly-dangerous corner kick by Amato at the 73-minute mark. At the other end, Schmid finished with two saves in defeat for Springfield.