A year of many firsts for MIT sports

From football to pole vaults, MIT teams score big this season

From the football team scoring a last-minute field goal on the way to their first ever NCAA playoff victory, to the women’s lacrosse team erasing a five goal deficit in the last twelve minutes and clinching their maiden New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Championship, to breaking a pole vault record at the New England Division III Track and Field Championship, MIT student athletes scaled new heights (pun intended) in the 2014-15 year. While some usual suspects continued their domination — like the men’s tennis team winning their 17th consecutive NEWMAC title — there were a number of new frontiers reached this season. Here we take a look back at some of the ‘firsts’ for MIT sports.

Men’s football goes unbeaten in regular season and clinches first NCAA playoff win

The men’s football team went 9-0 with 7-0 in the New England Football Conference (NEFC) to record their first ever unbeaten season in program history. As many as fifty student athletes from MIT were named to the NEFC All Academic Team. The Engineers were not quite done yet as they pulled off a thrilling victory in their first ever NCAA playoff appearance against Husson University. Matt Iovino ’17 first blocked an extra point attempt to keep Husson’s lead to just three points. Tucker Cheyne ’17 then converted a 38 yard field goal to take the game to extra time, in which QB Peter Williams ’15 hit Seve Esparrago ’16 for a game winning touchdown. Elliot Tobin ’17 claimed an honorable mention All-American from DIII football, in addition to being named NEFC Offensive Lineman of the Year.

Women’s lacrosse clinches first ever NEWMAC Championship

The women’s lacrosse team overcame old nemesis Springfield college by hammering in six goals in the last twelve minutes of regular season to clinch their first ever NEWMAC crown and consequently a debut at the NCAA playoff. The Engineers dominated Regis College in their maiden NCAA playoff appearance, recording a resounding 19-5 victory. Leading the charge for the Engineers were NEWMAC Rookie of the Year Emily Young ’18, who broke the program record for both points and goals scored, and Kira Schott ’16, who was named to Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Association (IWLCA) all-region first team. Hannah Levy ’17 and regular season’s Most Outstanding Player of the Tournament Christine Jiang ’16 also made key contributions to one historic season.

Softball team reaches NCAA Regional Championship Finals

Riding on some nasty pitching by Ellie Fodor ’15, who finished with 143 strikeouts, a miserly 1.39 ERA, and a perfect game this season, the MIT softball team recorded their best finish (second in NEWMAC) in program history, notching up a record 29 victories. The Cardinal and Gray also recorded impressive victories over Elms College and Wellesley College in the NCAA Regionals before falling to eventual champions, Tufts University. The Engineers were powered by Tori Jensen ’16 and Amanda Lee ’18, both of whom notched 35 RBIs, with the latter leading the team with 47 hits and a .395 average.

Women’s tennis reaches NCAA Elite 8

The women’s tennis team made it to the NCAA Elite 8 for the first time in program history when they overcame the more heralded Washington and Lee University. MIT closed out the regular season with a 15-5 record and made its third consecutive appearance in the Division III NCAA Championship. During the course of the season, Michelle Dutt ’15 notched her 100th career win. The MIT women’s tennis team was also awarded the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Sportsmanship Award for the month of May.

Track and field team shines at multiple events

The MIT women’s cross country and track and field programs were awarded the Deb Vercauteren Program of the Year Award by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA). The team finished second at the Cross Country Championship and fourth and fifth at the Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field Championships respectively. Coach Halston Taylor was deservedly named Coach of the Year. Cimran Virdi ’16 capped a sensational season with her first outdoor pole vault title at the NCAA Championship to add to her tally of two indoor titles. She also jumped an NCAA DIII record of 14-0 in the New England Division III Championship. Virdi was rightfully named the Field Athlete of the Year by the USTFCCCA. Joining her on the USTFCCCA honoree list was Track Athlete of the Year, Maryann Gong ’16. Gong won the 3000m at the Indoor National meet, along with first place finishes in the 1500m in the NEWMAC Championship and the 5000m at the New England Division III meet.