Cambridge, MA --- Grace Casey (Winchester, MA) made WPI's first penalty kick of the season a memorable one when she successfully converted the spot kick with 10:41 remaining to give the visiting Engineers a dramatic 2-1 victory over nationally-ranked MIT in a NEWMAC women's soccer contest played Wednesday afternoon.
WPI, which joined MIT in the initial NCAA Division III Region II rankings released Wednesday, is now 9-5-1 overall and 3-3-1 in conference play. MIT, ranked fifth in the latest United Soccer Coaches Top 25 national poll, dips to 15-1-1 on the season and 7-1 in NEWMAC action.
The loss snapped several impressive streaks for Cambridge's Engineers, who saw their 15-match winning and 16-match unbeaten 2021 runs come to an end. Additionally, MIT's 18-match NEWMAC regular season winning and 46-match unbeaten streaks came to a close. Remarkably MIT is now 43-2-3 overall in NEWMAC regular season play since the start of the 2016 season with both losses and two of the three ties coming against WPI.
Both teams had outstanding chances to score in the opening 45 minutes. MIT had a run of three shots in 24 seconds in the early going, highlighted by a shot by Meagan Rowlett (Dana Point, CT) that was blocked while WPI's Lilly Proulx (New Boston, NH) got behind the defense on the right side but was denied by a diving save by Lauren Castle (Ridgefield, CT).
The hosts dented the scoring column early in the second stanza when Emma Rutherford (Nashville, TN) took a cross from Mia Sedgwick (Wilmette, IL) and lifted the ball into the top of the net at 47:03. WPI leveled the match just over eight minutes later when Sofia Orrico (Bethel, CT) picked off a ball from a defender, dribbled towards goal, and laid it through the box to Caitlin Bonavita (Wilbraham, MA), who knocked home her second goal of the year.
MIT's Karenna Groff (Weston, MA) and Isabella Struckman (Scottsdale, AZ) had shots denied by WPI goalkeeper Lili Hellerman (Ashland, MA) seconds a part in the 75th minute. Five minutes later Orrico drew a foul in the box setting up Casey's heroics. The junior calmly stepped up and deposited the ball into the lower left corner for her fourth marker of the year. The hosts saw Groff attempts two shots in the final 10 minutes but both went wide of the goal.
On the day MIT enjoyed a 21-7 in edge in shots and attempted seven of the match's 10 corner kicks. Hellerman notched six saves in net for WPI while Castle recorded a pair of stops for the homestanding Engineers.
Both teams have NEWMAC roads at noon on Saturday. WPI ventures to South Hadley to tangle with Mount Holyoke while MIT heads to New London to faceoff with Coast Guard.