HAVERFORD, Pa. – The 2012 women's soccer season came to a heart-breaking halt Saturday afternoon in the opening round of the national tournament for Haverford College as the 25th-ranked Fords played the visitors from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to a 0-0, double-overtime draw at Walton Field, but watched the Engineers advance into the second round of the NCAA 2012 Division III women's soccer championship by virtue of a 4-2 count in penalty kicks.
Haverford (14-3-3) owned the edge in shots (17-14), shots on goal (7-5) and corner kick opportunities (11-5), and goalkeeper Robin Chernow (pictured, right) came up with five saves for the Fords over 110 minutes of action, but MIT (14-3-3) was a perfect four-for-four in the penalty-kick round to out pace the home team and move on to Sunday's second round at Walton, Sunday at 1:30 p.m., against the 23rd-ranked Lions of The College of New Jersey which defeated The City College of New York, 6-0, in the day's opening game.
Saturday's first-round NCAA contest between Haverford and MIT was frenetic as both teams managed to alternate advantages in attacking pressure. The Fords opened with positive pressure but the Engineers turned momentum and sustained an attacking presence through several minutes in the middle of the opening 45 minutes.
Both teams proved adept on the counter-attack as well, but the back four defenders for the Fords and Engineers were able to hold firm, forcing most of the shots for much of the afternoon to come from outside the box in the 25-30 yard range.
Chernow and MIT netminder Meghan Wright, who finished with seven saves, mirrored each other registering stops on those long shots including several off of corner kick attempts that generated well-placed shots.
One of the closest calls of the day came in the early moments of the 66th minute when play resulted in a loose ball in front of the Haverford goal but Jennifer Ibanez's shot from in close that could have pushed MIT into the lead glanced off the crossbar above Chernow to end the threat.
Haverford had the momentum at the end of regulation accumulating six consecutive shots over the final 15 minutes, three from corner kicks set pieces, but three were just off the mark, one was blocked, and the other two were saved by Wright.
The Engineers flipped the pressure during the pair of 10-minute overtime sessions racking up four shots against just one from Haverford, but only one of MIT's attempts were on frame and Chernow came up with the save to keep the scoreboard blank.
Likely no team enjoys the pressure of penalty kicks to decide tournament advancement, but Saturday the visitors -- who were eliminated by PKs in their conference tournament following a 1-1 draw -- were solid from the 12-yard PK mark Saturday finding the back of the net on each of their four attempts.
Haverford's Sophie Eiger and Allie Chen notched successful attempts in the PK round, Eiger's into the bottom left of the goal and Chen's into the upper left, but MIT's Michelle Battipaglia placed her attempt in the same spot as Chen's and when the ball hit the back of the net the Engineers had clinched the PK win to move on to Sunday.
Haverford closes out its 2012 season registering a double-digit win total for the fourth straight year, a program first, and its first Centennial Conference tournament crown.