Tech Men Fall to Coast Guard, 2-1, With 0:22 Left in Double Overtime

Coast Guard junior David O’Brien nodded home the winning goal with just 22 seconds remaining in double overtime, as the visiting Bears downed New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference foe MIT, 2-1, during the men’s soccer game Saturday. The loss was the first of the season for the Engineers at Steinbrenner Stadium.

Prior to Saturday’s setback, the Cardinal and Gray had been 4-0-1 at home. With the defeat, it dropped to 5-3-1 overall and 0-2-1 in the conference, while Coast Guard improved to 6-3-0 and 1-1-0.

The Bears nearly opened the scoring in the 20th minute, but junior Thomas Cameron saw his powerful diving header hit the outside of the right post and bounce clear of the goal. Twelve minutes later, Coast Guard teammate Nate Wojcik also came close, as he reached a powerful cross from senior captain Martin Villa before Tech goalkeeper Thomas S. Caldwell ’09. However, Caldwell did enough to put Wojcik off and force his effort just wide.

MIT also saw quality first-half scoring opportunities evaporate, as Andrew M. Bishara ’09 made a dangerous 23rd-minute free kick that was blocked by the wall and Adam B. Talsma ’10 had a 30th-minute header that flew narrowly over the crossbar.

The deadlock finally broke in the 60th minute, as Coast Guard defender Ben Walsh’s cross beat the Engineers’ offside trap and left rookie forward Nick Devine in alone on Caldwell. The freshman’s rocket shot from a tight angle found the near upper corner, leaving the keeper no chance and staking the Bears to a 1-0 lead.

Bishara’s curling 20-yard effort in the 66th minute looked like it would even the score, but the ball hit the face of the left post.

Talsma would eventually draw the home side level in the 83rd minute, however, with his second strike of the season. After receiving the ball just outside the six-yard box, a Coast Guard defender cleared Talsma’s first effort off the goal line. However, he followed his shot and drove home his own rebound to knot the score at 1-1 and send the match into overtime.

Chances were limited for both sides in the extra sessions, and the contest looked destined to end in a stalemate. However, with just 22 seconds remaining in the second overtime period, a corner kick by Walsh provided the Bears with a last chance to claim victory. The junior’s serve was met at the back post by Peter Deneen, and the forward headed back across the face of the goal to O’Brien, whose downward header bounced into the upper corner of the net to secure his third goal of the season.

Caldwell made a pair of excellent saves for the Engineers and finished with four stops overall, while freshman Chris Tarbell made five saves for the Bears.

MIT will now hit the road for four straight games, beginning at Brandeis University tomorrow at 4 p.m.