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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Challenge accepted: Judges will host the finals

Published: November 11, 2011
Section: Sports

Brandeis University forward Lee Russo ’13 scored two goals off of headers early in the first half and late in the second half to lead the top-seeded Judges past the eighth-seeded Southern Vermont College 2-0 in the quarterfinals of the ECAC Division III New England championship tournament.

Russo put the Judges on the scoreboard at the 9:15 mark of the first half. The scoring play started when midfielder Robbie Lynch ’15 broke free of his defender on the right sideline. Lynch then sent a cross through the box to Russo who headed the ball into the back of the net for his seventh goal of the season. The assist was Lynch’s first collegiate point.

Russo added an insurance goal in the 83rd minute when back Ben Applefield ’14 dribbled to the endline and fired a hard cross that Russo headed just inside the left post. The assist was Applefield’s second of the season.

With the goal, Russo moves into Brandeis’ career top scoring list with 19 goals and eight assists for 46 points. In four career ECAC tournament games, Russo has tallied seven goals, including a spectacular four-goal performance in the ECAC quarterfinals last year.

The Judges controlled the pace of the game from the opening kick-off, outshooting the Mountaineers 31-0 for the game. Rookie goaltender Connor Anniello kept the Mountaineers in the game with 12 saves, two shy of his career high. It was the fifth time Anniello had recorded at least 10 saves in his young collegiate career. Brandeis goalie Blake Minchoff ’13 did not have to make any saves on his way to his 11th shutout of the season, a new Brandeis single-season record.

With the win, Brandeis will host the semifinals and finals of the ECAC tournament. The Judges are looking to win back-to-back titles and their fourth overall. The Judges will host fifth-seeded Norwich University on Saturday at noon. The Norwich University Cadets defeated UMass Boston 3-1 in the quarterfinals. The remaining semifinal will take place Saturday at 2:30 p.m. It will pit second-seeded Albertus Magnus, fresh off a 3-2 win over Endicott, and third-seeded Castleton State, who outlasted Worcester State 2-1 in double overtime, against each other. The championship match will take place Sunday at noon at Brandeis University.

Judges complete best season record since 2000

On senior day, Nov. 5, the Judges men’s soccer team defeated New York University in a UAA matchup at Gordon Field. Midfielder Sam Ocel ’13 scored twice in the game’s first eight minutes, the first multi-goal game of his collegiate career, to pace the team to a 2-0 victory against NYU. The Judges finished the season 12-5-1 (3-3-1 UAA).

Brandeis began the game applying pressure immediately on the NYU Violet’s defense and goalie. In the fifth minute of play, the Judges earned a corner kick. Forward Lee Russo ’13 played the corner kick into the middle of the box to the waiting head of midfielder Kyle Feather ’14. Feather then headed the ball toward the feet of Ocel, who was waiting on the edge of the goalie box. Ocel finished the play with a rocket past NYU’s diving rookie goalie Forrest Sexton to put the Judges ahead 1-0.

The Judges did not ease their pressure after the early goal. Just three minutes after the first goal, midfielder Theo Harris ’12 dribbled the ball down the left side of the field. With an NYU defender quickly closing in on Harris, he crossed the ball toward the back post where Ocel was waiting once again. Ocel finished Harris’ cross with a header that narrowly went under the crossbar and into the back of the net. The goal was Ocel’s sixth of the year, tying him for the team lead.

Judges’ goalkeeper Blake Minchoff ’13 had two saves in another strong outing, earning his 10th shutout of the season. With the shutout, Minchoff moved into a tie with Jim Leahy for the Brandeis single season shutout record. Sexton finished the match with five saves against two goals for the Violet. Brandeis outshot NYU 13-7 in the final regular season match of the year for both teams.

One of the biggest questions the Judges faced at the beginning of the season was whether Minchoff could effectively replace the previous goalie Taylor Bracken ’11. Whatever questions Minchoff may have faced coming into the season, however, he answered with flying colors. Minchoff was able to keep the Judges in every game this season with his spectacular stops, allowing the offense to chip away at any deficit.