Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson ties 2-2 against NEWMAC leader MIT

Emersons+Thomas+Pelino+%2818%29%2C+left%2C+and+Theodore+Bushara+%285%29%2C+right%2C+try+to+maintain+possession+during+the+game+against+MIT+at+Rotch+Playground+in+Boston%2C+on+Saturday%2C+Oct.+14%2C+2023.
Ashlyn Wang
Emerson’s Thomas Pelino (18), left, and Theodore Bushara (5), right, try to maintain possession during the game against MIT at Rotch Playground in Boston, on Saturday, Oct. 14, 2023.

The Emerson men’s soccer team faced the undefeated MIT Engineers on Saturday, Oct. 14, in a rematch of the 2022 NEWMAC Semifinals. Despite early adversity in the first half, the Lions stormed back, ultimately tying with the Engineers 2-2.

Emerson’s offense started aggressively, with the Lions making two valiant attempts that were saved by the MIT keeper. They were equally impressive on the defensive side, deterring looks from the Engineers—though they still struggled to convert good opportunities and find the back of the net.

The Lions had an opportunity in the eighth minute, as sophomore midfielder Jorah Delbanco sprinted down field and found fellow sophomore midfielder Evan Lee. Lee then found junior forward Teddy Bushara for an Emerson goal—but it was waived off after the Lions were called offsides.

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  • Emerson’s Thomas Pelino (18), right, and MIT’s Ethan Reich (6), left, battles for a ball during the game at Rotch Playground in Boston, on Saturday, Oct. 14, 2023. (Ashlyn Wang/Beacon Staff)

  • MIT players celebrate after scoring a goal against Emerson at Rotch Playground in Boston, on Saturday, Oct. 14, 2023. (Ashlyn Wang/Beacon Staff)

  • Emerson’s Ben Deeming (6), left, the referee, center, MIT’s Garrett Dyson (31), right, surround MIT’s Matthew Sequeira (28), who falls to the ground at Rotch Playground in Boston, on Saturday, Oct. 14, 2023. (Ashlyn Wang/Beacon Staff)

  • An Emerson player brings up dirt on the field when carrying the ball during the game against MIT at Rotch Playground in Boston, on Saturday, Oct. 14, 2023. (Ashlyn Wang/Beacon Staff)

The Engineers got a header off of a corner kick, which found the back of the net in the 10th minute. MIT quickly flipped the script, leading 1-0.

The Lions remained resilient on the offensive end, only increasing their attacks. Lee’s shot in the 15th minute was saved by MIT, and the same went for first-year midfielder Thomas Pelino’s attempt six minutes later. A sequence of Engineer slide tackles foiled Emerson’s open looks once again, with the Lions unable to take advantage of quick opportunities. They had four easy looks in the 22nd minute but were unable to capitalize each time.

Sophomore defender Cade Mallett received a yellow card in the 26th minute, but the Engineers couldn’t convert the penalty kick, with Hobbs collecting the save. Pelino got a yellow card a minute later, and history repeated itself for MIT, unable to find the back of the net. Hobbs recorded his fifth save in the 36th minute. The Lions entered the locker room trailing 1-0.

Emerson was efficient in their first half shooting, with two of their five attempts on goal. MIT’s attempts, however, were more precise, with all six of their shots on target.

The Lions came out of the locker room with intensity, landing an attempt in the first ten seconds, a shot by Bushara which hit the post. A wild sequence led to MIT scoring another goal in the 48th minute. Though Emerson faced a 2-0 deficit, they remained hungry to mount a comeback. Senior midfielder Ben Deeming’s shot in the 50th minute went high, and his next attempt was saved five minutes later. In the 64th minute, the Lions found themselves in scoring position once again, and could have cut the lead to one …

But the referees called it offsides … again.

This led to resounding boos from Emerson supporters. Still, the Lions remained focused.

The third time was, in fact, the charm for Emerson, as senior defender Aaron Tyler found fifth-year forward Aidan Ferguson for a goal in the 69th minute. Though Pelino’s penalty kick attempt was saved shortly after, Emerson regained possession. Pelino redeemed himself by scoring the game-tying goal from the left side, mobbed by his teammates as raucous cheers erupted through Rotch.

Things got chippy in the 72nd minute, as an MIT player got tied up with Ferguson, who pushed him back. Deeming then exchanged words with MIT and the referees in an effort to stick up for his teammate. Though no penalties were called, it spoke to the intensity of this conference contest—the undefeated against the underdog.

MIT got a taste of their own medicine in the 75th minute, as the goal that would’ve given them the lead was called offsides. Lee took charge of two corner kicks for Emerson in the 82nd minute, but Emerson was unable to capitalize.

The intensity built up in the final five minutes. After Hobbs notched his ninth save, junior defender Anthony Ramlochan’s shot went high with two minutes to play, while MIT’s last two shots were high in the 89th minute.

With ten seconds to play and one last chance on the line, first-year Luke Maxwell was up for the corner kick. Emerson couldn’t convert the game-winning goal, but handed the Engineers their first tie in conference play and second one overall.

Head Coach Liam McKersie was proud of his team’s resilience, particularly in the second half.

“Our ability to stay together down 2-0 in a must-have result is the biggest thing we’ll carry forward,” he said. “Tactically, [there are] some things to continue to work on, but [I’m] really proud of guys not giving up.”

“It took a lot to come together,” Pelino said. “We didn’t get the win—I believe we should’ve put in another one—but a tie is better than a loss.”

“We’re going into the next four with our heads up,” he continued. “[We’ve] got some good momentum going into the next few games.”

McKersie noted that the biggest improvement this season was the team’s grit and “intestinal fortitude.”

“A lot of unmeasurable intangibles,” he said. “We’re leaning into those and embracing those moments—not saying we weren’t doing that earlier in the year, but I think we’re much more confident in those moments.”

Pelino—who has since been named the NEWMAC Offensive Player of the Week—believes the team’s ball movement has improved substantially.

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  • Emerson’s Rohan Edwards (28), left, Aidan Ferguson (16), center, Thomas Pelino (18), right, celebrate as Thomas Pelino (18) scores a goal to help Emerson to a 2-2 draw with MIT at Rotch Playground in Boston, on Saturday, Oct. 14, 2023. (Ashlyn Wang/Beacon Staff)

  • Emerson’s Cade Mallett (29), left, and MIT’s Kai McClennen (34), right, prepare to grab the ball during the two teams’ game at Rotch Playground in Boston, on Saturday, Oct. 14, 2023. (Ashlyn Wang/Beacon Staff)

  • Emerson players, Thomas Pelino (18) center, Theodore Bushara (5), right, rest after a 2-2 draw with MIT at Rotch Playground in Boston, on Saturday, Oct. 14, 2023. (Ashlyn Wang/Beacon Staff)

“In the beginning of the season, we used to just kick the ball forward and we felt very disconnected,” he said. “But now, guys are really finding their comfortability on the ball. Everyone’s finding each other’s pros and cons, and we’re trusting each other a lot more.”

The Lions fell to the Wheaton Lyons 1-0 on Wednesday, Oct. 18. Their next game is at Rotch against Salve Regina on Oct. 21 at 1:00 p.m.

When it comes to the remaining NEWMAC games, McKersie continues to trust the process.

“We just need to ride this momentum and come out with a ton of energy,” Pelino said. “Ride that wave and hopefully clinch a tournament spot.”

“It’s [about] coming together even more, having our player-led culture continue to drive us forward,” he said. “The energy and a lot of the controllable aspects that went into [Saturday’s] response have to continue to grow more and more. If the process is really good, we’ll give ourselves the best chance for the results.”

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About the Contributor
Jordan Pagkalinawan, Kasteel Well Bureau Chief
Jordan Pagkalinawan (he/him) hails from Burbank, California, and serves as The Beacon’s Kasteel Well Bureau Chief. A sophomore journalism student with a minor in Sports Communication, he was the sports editor for the Fall 2023 semester and a sports staff writer for most of his first year. Overseeing The Beacon’s operations in the Netherlands, Jordan is committed to elevating high-quality pieces of narrative and multimedia journalism. When he isn’t working for the Beacon, Jordan can be found listening to various genres of music, playing, watching, and writing about basketball, and exploring local bookstores and cafes.

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