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Russo sparks men’s soccer to three more wins

Published: September 14, 2012
Section: Sports


The 20th ranked men’s soccer team, nationally ranked for the first time in nearly a decade, continued their early season success, going undefeated this past week with wins against Clark, MIT and WPI. With the wins, the team improves their record to 6-0 and will likely begin next week with a higher ranking after their performance.

In the Wednesday game against WPI, the Judges trailed at halftime, 1-0, for the first time all season; however, in the opening minutes of the second half, Jake Picard ’16 corralled the rebound off of a Russo miss and netted his first goal of the season and his collegiate career.

The Judges built on their early second half momentum just 12 minutes later when Foti Andero ’15 headed the game-winning goal off of a perfectly placed cross pass from Sam Ocel ’13 for his first goal of the season.

Keeper Blake Minchoff ’13 made a sensational save in the closing seconds of the game to preserve the victory when a long throw from the Engineers’ Christopher Murray was played by Chris Ciampa to the waiting head of Jason Hopkins near the box. Luckily, Minchoff tapped the ball over the crossbar as the horn sounded to keep the Judges in front.

The Judges are currently ranked third nationally in goals scored (22) and points (59) while they rank ninth in scoring (4.4 goals per game).

Earlier in the week, Russo’s second career hat trick gave the Judges their 4-3 overtime victory against MIT. With his scoring outburst, Russo moves into 13th place on the Judges all-time scoring list. Russo has 27 goals, 11th on the list, as well as well as 12 assists for 67 total points, tying him with Mark Moroney ’90.

Russo opened the scoring with a goal in the 29th minute converting a penalty kick after MIT was called for a handball in the box, giving the Judges a 1-0 lead entering the half.

Russo scored the first goal of the second half in the 62nd minute when Joe Eisenbies ’13 kicked a long free kick towards the box where Ocel headed it towards the net. Russo quickly recognized the situation and then deposited it into the back of the net to increase the Judges’ lead to 2-0.

The Engineers did not go away though. In the 72nd minute, Matthew Monheit played a cross to Ben Lewis who headed the ball into the back of the net to cut their deficit to 2-1.

Brandeis quickly responded. In the 76th minute Ben Applefield ’14 maneuvered his way through the MIT defenders, ultimately passing the ball to a wide open Tyler Savonen ’15 who launched a rocket into the back of the net to put the Judges ahead by two goals; however, MIT responded just 52 seconds later as William Lee scored off of an assist from Monheit.

MIT completed their remarkable comeback in the 79th minute as Sean Bingham launched a free kick 35 yards away from the box. The ball took an unlucky bounce off of a Brandeis defender and then into the net past Minchoff.

With the game knotted at 3-3, the game headed to overtime where Russo once again played the role as the hero. In the 91st minute, Russo curved a perfectly placed ball from the right corner over the arms of the MIT keeper to complete the hat trick.

In the first game of the week, the Judges faced Clark. Russo once again played a crucial role in the Judges’ offensive attack with a goal and two assists.

Russo opened the scoring in the 12th minute when Kyle Feather ’13 picked up a Clark turnover in the defensive end and then played the ball ahead to an open Russo who scored an easy goal.

Russo set up the next goal lofting the ball from the left side to the far post where Feather was waiting to rocket it into the back of the net to put the Judges on top, 2-0.

The Judges scored two more goals in the 32nd and 37th minutes to put the game out of reach; Russo was involved in both plays.

In the 32nd minute, Russo started the action playing a through pass to Ocel in the goal box. The Clark keeper made the initial save but Ocel rocketed the rebound past the keeper on the second attempt.

In the 37th minute, Russo once again created the offensive play. Russo slotted his free kick toward Eisenbies who headed the ball into the net.

To Clark’s credit, they did not go away in the second half and tried to claw their way back into the match; however, the Judges’ four goal outburst in the first half was too much for the Cougars to overcome.

Clark finally broke through in the 72nd minute to get on the scoreboard but it was too little too late. Clark registered a second goal in the 89th minute as Brandeis defeated them 4-2.

Though the final score indicated a close and competitive game, the outcome of this game was never in doubt as the Judges controlled the tempo and play throughout the match.

The Judges face Lasell College on the road on Saturday at 1 p.m. while their next home match will be on Wednesday against Babson at 7 p.m.