Men’s team faces a loss and a tie
The Brandeis men’s soccer team battled to a 1–1 draw with Worcester Polytechnic Institute Wednesday evening after a relatively cautious 90 minutes gave way to two dramatic extra time periods which left the home side relieved at the final whistle.
Despite lots of possession throughout the night, Brandeis was outshot 23–12, according to the Brandeis Athletics website, including 8–0 in extra time, and trailed eight to four overall in shots on goal. The Judges held a slight edge in corners but their lone goal came from open play. Goalkeeper Greg Irwin ’20 had an impressive night, denying seven efforts on goal and coming off his line on numerous occasions.
Two of the Judges’ most reliable forwards, Will DeNight ’23, who came off injured against Babson over the weekend, and Colin Panarra ’20 were notably absent from the pitch all night, and it was clear early on that Brandeis missed its standout strikers as they were unable to create clear scoring chances despite early possession. The visiting Engineers took an abrupt lead when Jackson Conroy ’20 played a long ball over the home defense and Matt Mulligan ’20 lobbed his shot from the right corner of the 18-yard box over Irwin in the sixth minute.
WPI nearly doubled their advantage in the 20th minute when substitute Paul Beatty ’21 nearly found himself through on goal, only for Irwin to rush to the edge of his box for the first several times in the match. The Judges were rewarded for their patient possession in the 25th minute when a Dylan Hennessy ’20 cross was dropped by Noah Gans ’20 toward Jared Panson ’22, who swept the ball into the bottom corner of the net to level the match with his first varsity goal.
The next noteworthy moment came in the 66th minute when WPI forward Francesco Valagussa ’23 appeared to be clattered into by a Judge defender on the edge of the penalty area, but referee Robert Minichiello declined to blow for a foul.
Brandeis appeared to tire out toward the end of regulation and extra time as WPI had several chances to find a golden goal, most notably in the 94th minute when Irwin came off his line to deny Mark Calnan ’20 and again when Calnan scuffed his shot from a great run early in the second period of extra time. Sebastian Royo ’21 nearly finished the game in the 109th minute but was denied thanks to another fine save by Irwin. The Judges did go for the win themselves, selling out offensively on a couple of set pieces in extra time, but were clearly the more exhausted side as they collectively fell to the turf at the final whistle. Forrest Shimazu ’23 and Isaac Mukala ’22 also turned in impressive defensive performances, tasked with defending several late counter-attacks by WPI as the Judges pushed for a late winner.
Brandeis fell away to Tufts 2–0 on Saturday night as the top ranked Jumbos outshot their 25th ranked opponents 22–4. After the Judges own goal in the 24th minute, an ensuing Melee led to a straight red card for Max Breiter ‘20 and an already difficult task was made even harder with the Judges down a goal and a man. The hosts added a second in the 58th minute and went on to win comfortably.
The men’s team — now 3–2–1 on the season — plays next away against Western New England University on Saturday at 2 p.m.
In an interview with the Justice, Noah Gans ’21 explained, “This offseason has felt like an eternity. So what I’m most excited for is just to get back on the field with the guys and compete against somebody other than ourselves. It's an opportunity to right the ship, and I’m pumped for it.”