Men's Soccer: Judges beat Babson in double overtime
Published: Monday, September 24, 2012
Updated: Monday, September 24, 2012 19:09
Babson senior forward Eric Anderson scored six times against the men’s soccer team in his career before Wednesday’s game.
Though the Beavers' two-time All-American gave them a first half lead, the Judges had the last laugh in the second sudden-death overtime.
Judges midfielder Sam Ocel ’13 scored with eight minutes, one second left in double overtime to cap a spirited rally and hand Brandeis a hard-fought 2-1 victory over their longtime rivals.
“I think the second half was the best soccer we have played in the past three years,” said Judges coach Mike Coven, whose team improved to 8-0-0 with the win.
“The whole team won the game, not just the people on the field,” said forward Lee Russo ’13, whose 66th -minute equalizer set the stage for Ocel’s dramatic winner. “Everyone played a part.”
Despite having the minority of the possession time, Brandeis had more scoring opportunities, the first of which came in the seventh minute. Forward Tyler Savonen ’15 initiated the attack on Babson junior goalkeeper Jackson Klein, shooting just high of the net.
Midfielder Jake Picard ’16 was the next to come close, sending a high curler a yard over Klein’s bar.
It seemed only a matter of time before Brandeis scored. However, the Judges found themselves behind at the 29 minute mark.
Babson junior midfielder Kevin Israel burst down the right flank. He whipped in a cross towards the center, where Anderson—who stands at six-foot-four—headed the ball past goalkeeper Blake Minchoff ’13 and into the right corner to silence the boisterous home crowd.
Given that last year’s meeting featured Brandeis going in front before losing 2-1 in overtime, the home crowd would have hoped the game would follow the same pattern.
For a while, though, it appeared that it just wasn’t the host’s day.
Klein came up with two big saves in the 58th minute, denying Russo and Savonen in quick succession from close range.
Yet, he was helpless to prevent the equalizer.
With 24 minutes to go, Russo and Ocel got shots off in quick succession, both of which Klein deflected. The third time was the charm, however, as Russo lashed a half-volley into the net that sent the crowd into frenzy.
Babson senior midfielder Salomon Guindi then attempted to counter for the Beavers. However, his driven effort—though seemingly ticketed for the top of the net—flew harmlessly over Minchoff’s bar.
Brandeis almost won it with 14 seconds left in regulation. Midfielder Kyle Feather ’14 fired an effort from 25 yards out. Though an anticipatory hush fell over the crowd, the shot zipped inches over.
Just like last year’s game, the first overtime ended with the score at 1-1. However, this year, it would be Brandeis—not Babson—who got the winner in the second overtime.
With 8:01 left in the second of two 10-minute overtimes, Russo took a long throw on the right flank, hurling the ball into the middle, where Ocel was there to flick it on. However, instead of finding a teammate as he had intended, the midfielder’s header found the net, ending the game and resulting in the storming of the field from the home supporters.
Russo was quick to herald the impact of the fans, who have become known as “Coven’s Corner,” in recent weeks.
“Before the game, someone told me that if I scored, I would have to run over to the fans,” said Russo, who did just that after netting the equalizer. “Being at home, having them lift you every play is awesome.”
Coven admitted that the start to this season, Brandeis’ best since 1986, has been surprising given losses in key positions from last year.
“We lost our two center backs [in] Ari Silver [’12] and David McCoy [’12,] and central midfielder Theo Terris [’12], who was our playmaker and probably our best player,” he said. “Bringing Joey [Eisenbies ’13] from holding midfielder to center back really helped out. Matt Brondoli [’14], who didn’t play much as a freshman or sophomore, has come in at center back and done really well. I’m very happy with the way things are going.”
Despite the thrill of beating their rival for the first time since 2008, the Judges aren’t taking anything for granted. They play at Wentworth Institute of Technology today before traveling to the University of Rochester for their first University Athletic Association contest on Saturday.
“We’ll be playing better teams, and we’re going to have to keep bringing our best game,” said Coven. “If you look at the [National Soccer Coaches Association of America] Division III polls, many of the top teams are in our conference. We’re going to have to keep playing well.”