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Judges rebound from tie with 2-0 win at Wheaton

Published: October 7, 2011
Section: Sports


This past Wednesday, the Judges snapped a 13-game losing streak against Wheaton College dating back to 1998. With goals from Tyler Savonen ’15 and Sam Ocel ’13 they secured a 2-0 win in a non-conference matchup at Keefe Field. With the win the Judges improved to 7-2-1 on the season.

Brandeis goalie Blake Minchoff ’13 continued his stellar early-season performance with three saves, gaining his seventh shutout of the season.

In the first half of play, the Judges outshot the Wheaton Lyons 11-5 and took the lead at the 29:06 mark with a goal from Savonen. Lee Russo ’13 inbounded a corner kick with a low rocket across the box that Savonen headed into the net. The goal was Savonen’s first collegiate game-winning goal and gave him 12 points on the season while Russo’s assist gave him 13 points.

Ocel scored his third goal of the season at the 53:08 mark in the second half to give the Judges a 2-0 cushion. Steve Keuchkarian ’12 fed a pass to Ocel through the defense and Ocel beat the Wheaton first-year goalie Devin Delfino one-on-one and hooked a shot past a Wheaton back.

The Judges finished the game with a 22-9 edge in shots and a 6-1 advantage in corner kicks. Minchoff increased his collegiate record as a starting goalie to 7-2-1 with the win and Delfino stopped eight shots in the losing effort to fall to 3-4-2.

This past Saturday, the Judges opened University Athletic Association conference play with a 1-1 tie against the visiting Rochester Yellowjackets at Gordon Field. With the draw both teams moved to identical records of 0-0-1 in UAA matches.

Both teams played at a very fast tempo in the first half though it was ultimately scoreless. The Yellowjackets dominated the beginning of the half with two shots on goal in the first 10:02. Brandeis goalie Minchoff, however, continued his impressive play, making saves on the shots to keep the game scoreless. Ocel had the first quality scoring opportunity in the 16th minute but his shot hit the crossbar.

Minchoff stoned the Yellowjackets again in the 19th minute. Rochester rookie forward Alex Swanger headed a free kick directly into Minchoff’s hands. In the closing seconds of the first half, Brandeis had another scoring opportunity but Rochester rookie back Alex Sheridan made an exciting tackle on Alexander Farr ’12 to prevent him from getting off a shot.

Rochester opened the second half much like the first half, taking the first two shots. Rochester senior midfielder Max Eberhardt took both shots, with Minchoff saving the first and the second sailing over the net.

The Judges finally broke the scoreless tie in the 51st minute. Keuchkarian dribbled the ball to the end-line and faked the goalkeeper out of the net. Keuchkarian then fed the ball across the goalmouth where forward Lee Russo ’13 was waiting and headed the ball into the net at the 50:17 mark of the second half for his fifth goal on the season.

Less than four minutes later, the Yellowjackets responded with a goal of their own. Rochester senior Josh Richards moved to the end-line, much like Keuchkarian had, and crossed the ball to a waiting Swanger, who buried the ball into the back of the net to notch the score at 1-1.

Rochester closed the second half with consistent offensive pressure outshooting the Judges 15-5 in the final 25 minutes of play. In the closing 13 minutes of regulation the Judges were able to dial up their own offensive pressure with three late-corner kicks and five of the final six shots of the second half.

In overtime, the tempo went back and forth with neither team able to dial up consistent pressure in the offensive zone. The Judges had three shots during extra time compared to just one shot for the Yellowjackets. Both Minchoff and Rochester junior goalie Scott Garfing each made a save to preserve the tie-game.

Minchoff finished the contest with seven saves compared to just three for Garfing. The goal on Minchoff was only the fourth he has allowed all season throughout nine games.

Russo stressed the need for “mental strength and toughness.” When asked about the Judges’ inability thus far to win the low-scoring games. Russo continued, commenting, “We need to improve our mental strength because we’re not going to beat teams 5-0 or 4-0 anymore.” Russo expressed that the team “wasn’t disappointed in losing to a good team like Rochester.” He noted, however, that the team has “only won one game in UAA competition the past two years.”

Russo also had high praise for new goalie Minchoff. Russo said, “There was a question coming into the season about Minchoff’s ability to replace the previous goalie, Taylor Bracken. But [Minchoff] has been playing confident and the team’s confidence starts with him.”

Last week, on Sept. 28, the Judges gained a 4-0 road win against Colby-Sawyer in non-conference play. The Judges scored four goals in the final 17 minutes of play in an offensive outburst.

Before Brandeis broke up the stalemate in the 73rd minute, neither team had been able to crack the opposing goalie. Brandeis midfielder Theo Harris ’12 scored his fourth goal of the season on a cross by defender Savonen. Less than five minutes later, Savonen shot one past Colby-Sawyer senior goalie Will Berry, giving the Judges a 2-0 advantage.

Brandeis put the game completely out of reach for Colby-Sawyer with two goals in a span of a mere 40 seconds during the 84th minute. Tudor Livadaru ’14 scored his first goal of the season on a cross from Farr. Farr then scored the Judges’ fourth goal of the game on an assist from Savonen.

With that goal, Farr became one of the top 25 scorers in Brandeis history. In his collegiate career, Farr has 21 goals and four assists for a total of 46 points passing Nate Allen ’99, Kevin Healy ’85 and David Robbins ’99 for 23rd place. Farr is tied for 16th place with Joel Thompson ’95 and Michael Christy ’97 on the Brandeis career goals list.

Minchoff posted three saves in the game while Berry stopped seven shots in the loss.

The Judges return to action on Sunday at 11 a.m. when they travel to Case Western Reserve for their first UAA road game of the season.