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Men’s Soccer Maintains Momentum
Nationally ranked varsity team could be part of a dynasty in the making
By Kathryn Beaumont

They finished the season 17-3- 1 overall and went undefeated in their conference. Their final Division III rankings were first in New England and eighth nationally. The 2003 season was clearly the best in the history of the MIT varsity men’s soccer team, and after so much success, perhaps it’s understandable that Coach Walter Alessi thought he would never see its equal. “I thought that 2003 would be the greatest season in my lifetime,” says Alessi, who admits that, before tryouts, he was a little uncertain about the quality of the freshmen players on the 2004 team.

He need not have worried. Although a 2-1 loss to Babson in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) finals prevented the men from qualifying for the NCAA tournament, the 2004 team’s 14-3-1 record was nearly the same as the 2003 team’s. The team was also declared 2004 cochampion of the New England Division III Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference. And until the Babson loss, no team had scored a first-half goal on MIT all season.

The 2004 record is particularly impressive given that more than half of the team’s 25 players were freshmen. Yet the team’s seasoned senior leaders shone in their own right. All of them won NEWMAC conference honors. Tri-captains Dan Griffith ’05, Jose-Ramon Torradas ’05, and Walter Song ’06, along with Robert Pilawa ’05, were named to the NEWMAC all-conference first team, while goalie Morgan Mills ’05 was named to the all-conference second team. In addition, Torradas broke the school’s record for all-time number of assists.

After 30 years at the helm of MIT men’s soccer, is Alessi on the verge of building a dynasty in MIT sports—which are notorious for their on-and-off successes? “I’m hopeful,” he says, “But I have been through the ups and lots of downs.” During his first 26 years, only one team won 10 or more games. In the past four years, however, every team has won at least 10 games. Still, Alessi insists, “I was happy here before this streak.” He is as close to the players on his 1981 one-win team as he is to his current crop of stars. But a 14-win season is nice, too.

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