Men's Soccer: Judges maintain perfect streak
Published: Monday, September 10, 2012
Updated: Monday, September 10, 2012 19:09
Possessing a 2-0 lead midway through the second half, the men’s soccer team must have felt that it had last Sunday’s game against the Massachusetts Institute of Technology all but wrapped up.
The win came eventually, but not as easily as the team would have hoped.
After MIT pulled within a goal to make it 2-1, Brandeis managed to notch an insurance goal, retaking a two-goal lead. However, the Engineers rallied to tie the game at 3-3, which forced overtime.
Forward Lee Russo ’13 scored his third goal of the game in extra time, a free-kick into the top corner to give the Judges the win, their third in four days, following victories against Clark University and Colby-Sawyer College.
“My only comment about [the win] is that good things can happen if you play balls into dangerous areas,” said Russo after completing his hat trick.
“I was very happy with the fight that we showed,” said Brandeis coach Mike Coven, whose team improved to 5-0. “However, we conceded silly goals off of set pieces, which is something that our whole eleven players need to work on.” “That said, though, I’m very happy with the effort.”
The game started quite rough, with neither team able to get a hold on the game. Goalkeeper Blake Minchoff ’13 had to claim an early MIT free kick for the Judges, while MIT’s sophomore netminder Samuel Cannon had to hold a low shot from Russo at the other end.
Just one minute after his left-winged cross almost caused an own goal, Russo opened the scoring for the Judges from the penalty area.
With 16 minutes, 21 seconds left in the first half, back Matt Brondoli ’14 sent a free kick into the penalty area that did not pan out. However, the ball was adjudged to have hit the arm of an MIT defender, giving Brandeis a penalty kick. Russo stepped up and sent his effort into the bottom left corner from 12 yards to give the hosts the lead.
The pressure was eased in the 62nd minute, as Russo finished a ball played by back Joe Eisenbies ’13 to double the lead.
MIT, however, did not go away quietly. Less than 24 hours after the Judges allowed their first goal of the season against Clark from a set piece, a dead ball undid the hosts again, as senior midfielder Ben Lewis headed a shot past Minchoff to make it 2-1.
Yet the Judges increased the lead four minutes later. Back Ben Applefield ’14 made his way down the left flank. After beating a couple of defenders into the box, he laid the ball off for forward Tyler Savonen ’15, whose effort caromed off the post and into the net to make the game seemingly safe.
The drama hadn’t even started.
Fifty-two seconds later, MIT pulled to within one goal from yet another set piece situation. Junior forward Matthew Monheit fed first-year forward William Lee, who finished to make it 3-2.
Although it seemed that the Judges would grab the fourth goal to put the nail in the coffin, MIT turned the game on its head.
A free kick from the right flank was played into the box. However, the ball only went as far as freshman midfielder Sean Bingham, who ripped an effort from 30 yards that took a deflection off of a defender and beat Minchoff to his left to make it 3-3 with 10:29 left.
Given that there was no further scoring, the contest went into the first of two 10-minute “sudden death” overtimes.
It only took 79 seconds for the hammer blow to arrive.
MIT conceded a free-kick 18 yards out on the right side. Despite the fact that many teams would put a left-footer in charge of sending the cross in, the Judges elected to have the right-footed Russo send in a free kick in which the ball would be curling away from the goal. The senior stepped up and whipped a curling ball across the net and into the top corner on the far side. The goal released bedlam from the large contingent of home fans, who reveled in the nature of the win.
Last Saturday, the Judges raced out to a 4-0 lead in their match against Clark as Russo, Eisenbies, midfielder Kyle Feather ’14 and midfielder Sam Ocel ’13 scored first-half goals to put the Judges firmly in the driving seat against a team that beat Brandeis 1-0 last year.
However, the visiting Cougars made the scoreboard look a bit deceptive with goals against the run of play from junior forwards Will Van Noppen and Josh Demers to restore some parity.
Wednesday’s home opener proved to be more of a rout. In the 17th minute, Applefield opened the scoring, curling a left-footed free kick around the wall and into the far corner to give the Judges a 1-0 lead. Russo scored the game’s second goal at 24 minutes, heading in a bouncing ball from Ocel.
Rookie forward Chris Bradley ’16 notched the Judges’ third goal in the 36th minute. Feather, Savonen, Bradley and defender Conor Lanahan ’16 all scored in the second half as well to give the Judges their first home win of the year.
While the Judges face two road tests at Worcester Polytechnic Institute and Lasell College this week, Russo is optimistic about his team’s play.
“We’re a new team,” he said, “but we’re starting to figure things out.”