Altneu named tournament Most Outstanding Player
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Second-seeded Wheaton College claimed its eighth New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Tournament championship on Sunday afternoon at Roberts Field as the Lyons edged first-seeded MIT, 1-0.
Wheaton (16-5-0, 6-1-0 NEWMAC), who earns an automatic bid into the NCAA Division III Tournament, improves to 4-0 against the Engineers in the NEWMAC Tournament championship game and 6-2 overall in postseason play. The Lyons also bumped their record to 16-5-3 overall against the Engineers in the all-time series dating back to 1998. MIT (13-4-2, 6-0-1 NEWMAC) will now await a possible at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament. The selection show will occur tomorrow afternoon.
Wheaton junior Ben Altneu (Orleans, Mass./Nauset Regional) delivered the game-winning goal in the 80th minute redirecting a header by classmate Travis Blair (Hastings, N.Y./Hastings) under the reach of MIT sophomore goalkeeper Jake Amereno (Commack, N.Y./Commack) into the net for his seventh goal of the season. Lyons' junior midfielder Luke Finkelstein (Peabody, Mass./Peabody) also was credited with an assist initiating the tally with a cross from the right flank to Blair near the back post before Altneu scored.
At the conclusion of the game, Altneu was named the NEWMAC Tournament Most Outstanding Player. Altneu compiled three goals during the tournament in just two games played and also has registered five markers in his last four contests.
Both teams finished tied in shots (13-13) and corner kicks (4-4) as Wheaton held a 7-4 advantage in the opening stanza, while MIT closed out the final half with a 9-6 differential in shots.
Wheaton sophomore goalkeeper Matt Dickey (Newton, Mass./Northfield Mount Hermon School) stopped three shots in the win to improve to 14-5-0 overall on the season. Amereno made four saves, two in each half, in the loss.
Play eventually opened up in the contest after the first 15 minutes featured a defensive-minded game between both squads when Finkelstein's free kick in the 16th minute was turned aside by Amereno. Junior Brian Kenny (Mount Vernon, N.Y./Iona Prep) followed with a well struck ball that sailed just wide in the 19th minute to highlight Wheaton's early scoring chances.
MIT nearly took a 1-0 lead at the 26:34 mark as junior midfielder Nicholas Diamantoni (Boca Raton, Fla./The Lawrenceville School) had his shot ricochet off the crossbar over Dickey's reach.
In the second half, Blair tested Amereno with an attempt just 32-seconds after the break but Blair came up empty on a nice stop by Amereno.
The Engineers responded with a flurry of shots (four total) over the next 18:32 of action culminating in their best chance of the afternoon, once again involving Diamantoni. After breaking away from Wheaton's backline, Diamantoni blasted a scoring bid from just outside the left corner of the box that was initially tipped by Dickey into the crossbar landing just outside the goal line. Dickey turned around quickly and pounced on the ball to keep the game scoreless as MIT rushed the net looking to claim the lead.
Altneu went on to deposit the eventual game-winning goal in the 80th minute pushing Wheaton's record to 12-2 overall on the season when the Lyons score first and 12-1 when Blair records a point. Altneu's fourth career game-winning tally also increased Wheaton's all-time record in the NEWMAC Tournament to 22-8-1 overall.