Judges use late goal to get past Tufts at home
Though they found themselves outplayed for most of the first half and without a shot on target, the No.5 men’s soccer team snuck past Tufts University with a 2-0 win on Saturday. The win was their second victory over a previously undefeated team last week, defeating Worcester Polytechnic Institute 1-0 last Wednesday, and improve their record to 7-0 as a result.
The first half started as a very even affair with both teams sharing possession equally. However, as the half went on, the Judges began to slowly lose their grip of the middle of the field. With the first half ending with seven shots on goal for Tufts, the away side convincingly controlled the game.
At that point, the squad was running out of ideas, since their game is very much centered around going through the middle of the pitch, according to coach Michael Coven.
“They challenged for everything, and they were fit, and they ran after everything,” he explained.
“What we did [in the second half] was we moved [Midfielder Michael Soboff ’15] from up top to the middle. He gets the ball, and he can keep the ball. Plus he is a physical player himself, and [defenseman Connor Lanahan ’16] started hitting longer balls—that was a big difference too,” Coven continued.
Though the second half started similarly to how the first half ended, as time went on, Brandeis began to slowly create chances and see more of the ball. The catalyst to this change was a 52nd minute shot by midfielder Josh Ocel ’17.
The shot was only just saved by the Tufts sophomore goalkeeper Scott Greenwood, who tipped the shot over the bar.
Tufts began to feel less comfortable playing against a more determined and physical Brandeis middle after the hour. The speed of defenseman Robbie Lynch ’15 on the right and the physicality up top to receive those long balls, chances were being created more and more often by the Judges.
In the 68th minute, a cross from the right presented Brandeis with their best scoring chance. Soboff rose to nod the cross towards the goal with the crossbar being the only barrier between Brandeis and a goal.
Finally, Brandeis forced a breakthrough in the 79th minute off a corner. Ocel hit a well-placed cross into the middle of the Tufts box, and while the away team scrambled to try to get it out, it found its way to Soboff.
Soboff provided a great pass across the goalline to Lynch, who slammed home his first collegiate goal and gave the Judges a 1-0 lead.
“You know, once we got that first goal, then the adrenaline is going, and they said ‘hey we can win this game,’” Coven said.
Though Brandeis began to really show their domination following the goal, Tufts almost snuck a goal in with a one-on-one against goalkeeper Joe Graffy '15. The goalkeeper came out with the win in that duel, producing a fine stop and preserving the lead.
After a lot of pressure, Brandeis finally found themselves their cushion. Forward Zach Veira ’17 received a long ball from the back, managed to push the ball past the Tufts defenders and squeeze the ball over Greenwood and into the goal. The goal was his fourth of the season and sealed the 2-0 victory.
Brandeis faced another undefeated team in WPI on Wednesday and dispatched the visitors 1-0. WPI entered the game on a five-game-winning streak, averaging 3.6 goals per game over the season. The game was a very close contest with a goal from Soboff separating the two teams.
Soboff’s goal came in the 23rd minute from good work by Vieira on the wing, passing it to Soboff to slot it in to the back of the net.
The Judges had five shots over the first 10 minutes but could not find a way past the WPI defense until Soboff’s goal.
The goal was all Brandeis would need, holding WPI without a shot on goal for the game and surrendering just five shots overall.
The Judges added five shots in the second half for an 11-5 shot advantage overall.
The team will not get any breaks in their upcoming schedule, traveling to Babson College tomorrow for a game at 4 p.m. and welcoming Wheaton College (Mass.) on Sept. 30, but with their recent form, the Judges have given themselves every opportunity to win.