NORTON, MA- Freshman Max Swanson (Lexington, MA/Lexington) scored both of the regionally-ranked Wheaton College men's soccer team's goals, helping the Lyons clinch a home playoff game with Saturday's 2-1 victory over visiting Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) during New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) action on Keefe Field. Wheaton also secured the second seed in the league tournament.
The Lyons, who are receiving national votes and ranked fourth in the region by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA), extended their winning streak to four games in improving to 15-3-1 overall and 4-1 in the league. Wheaton's 15 wins mark its most since 2004. The Engineers fell to 8-7 and 2-3.
Junior Josh Solomon (Acton, MA/Acton-Boxboro Regional) and freshman Cecil Jeffrey (Framingham, MA/Rivers School) earned assists on Swanson's goals, while junior goalie Cole Davidson (Needham, MA/Salisbury School) had no saves in the win.
Wheaton dominated play throughout, holding advantages of 12-4 in shots and 7-3 in corner kicks. MIT junior Christian Therkelsen (Nesbru, Norway/Nesbru) scored his goal off of a penalty kick, and sophomore Dylan Rankin (Providence, RI/Moses Brown School) turned aside one Lyon shot in just over 81 minutes of play.
The hosts took nine of the game's 10 first-half shots, including on Swanson's initial tally at 10:08. Solomon dribbled past an Engineer defender from the right flank and toward the end line before finding a charging Swanson on the near post. Swanson slid in to get a piece of the ball and pushed it to the far left corner of the net.
Swanson picked up the winner 5:20 into the second half. The play started with Jeffrey just inside the left sideline. With his back to the field and an MIT player behind him, Jeffrey kept possession on a few touches without the ball hitting the ground before sending a cross to the middle of the box to Swanson, who fought off a defender to get to the ball first for the finish.
With only two shots to show for nearly the first 73 minutes, the Engineers doubled their attempts within seconds, as a shot by freshman Ben Lewis (West Hartford, CT/Conard) was heading toward the upper left corner of the goal before a Wheaton player intentionally hit the ball with his hands to force a penalty kick, which Therkelson converted at 72:55. However, the Lyon defense held strong and kept MIT from getting off another attempt the rest of the way.
The Lyons will wrap up their regular season next Saturday against visiting Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in a conference match at 12:00 p.m.