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Men’s soccer has tough first weekend, loses one and ties another

Published: September 11, 2009
Section: Sports


GOING FOR THE GOAL: Brandeis midfielder Alex Zenerovitz ‘10 (No. 8, left) passes the ball  upfield past Colby Sawyer midfielder Derek Veilleux ‘12 (No. 12, right).<br /><i>PHOTO BY Max Shay/The Hoot</i>

GOING FOR THE GOAL: Brandeis midfielder Alex Zenerovitz ‘10 (No. 8, left) passes the ball upfield past Colby Sawyer midfielder Derek Veilleux ‘12 (No. 12, right).
PHOTO BY Max Shay/The Hoot

The Brandeis men’s soccer team opened their season last weekend in the Adidas Kick-Off Tournament in Norton, MA. Their first match against the Rutgers-Newark Scarlet Raiders ended in a 1-1 tie on Saturday, but the Judges fell 2-0 on Sunday to the Southern Maine Huskies. Coach Coven was not happy with his team’s performance. “It was the first weekend, and we were clearly not comfortable as a team,” said Coach Coven. “[However] our team realizes the mistakes that we committed and I am comfortable that we will learn from them and come out much stronger this coming weekend.”

When reflecting on the tournament, captain Adam Guttman ’10 admitted that while the team hadn’t played at their best, it is rare to see top notch performances at the beginning of the season. “It made us realize that we have a lot of work to do,” he told The Hoot.

Brandeis took an early lead against the Scarlet Raiders. They scored less than four minutes into the first half and though it might not have been the play they intended, it certainly had the right result. Brandeis’ Lee Russo ’13 took a corner kick that inadvertently found the head of one of the Rutgers-Newark defenders who then directed the ball into his own goal. That was the only goal the Judges would get in the game. “We very rarely play against a team like Rutgers,” said Guttman. “They swarm the ball defensively as a unit, which gave us very little time for distribution and not much time to make smart decisions on the ball.”

There would not be any other scoring until nearly the 70th minute of the game when Scarlet Raider Estiven Benitez ’11 finally got a shot past the Brandeis keeper, Matt Lynch ’11. Both teams had to settle for a tie after going into two overtimes. “It actually turned out to be a good result for us because they played Wheaton the following game and tied 0-0,” Guttman said. “Although we didn’t play particularly well against Rutgers it was an important result because they had made a strong post-season run the year before. They were also very talented individually which provided tough match-ups defensively.”

Another aspect of the match-up against Rutgers-Newark was the number of fouls on both sides. The Scarlet Raiders had 15 over the course of the game while Brandeis put up 25, including three yellow cards and one red card to captain Corey Bradley ’10 with five minutes left in the game. Apparently the referees were keeping a close eye on all the games in the tournament this weekend, and, according to Coach Coven, three of the four teams playing this weekend received red cards. “Basically it was a very physical game, which is not necessarily a bad thing,” Guttman told The Hoot. “[The red card] was unfortunate because the referee may not have used his best judgment in issuing the card, but it’s over with and there is nothing we can do about it now. So we move forward.”

“I think that we do need to keep our composure on the field better, but it is not something that I am overly concerned with at this point,” said Coach Coven.

Although Brandeis out shot Southern Maine 20-15 in their second game of the weekend, they weren’t able to translate those shots into goals. “We were unable to capitalize on a multitude of opportunities in front of goal,” said Coach Coven.

The game remained completely scoreless until the 60th minute when Husky Nick Johnson ’11 made two goals in the span of 2:04. “We didn’t have the consistency that we would have liked to show for 90 minutes,” said Guttman. “[But] for the most part of the game we were the better team, that is creating more scoring opportunities, especially in the latter moments of the game.”

In those latter moments, especially the last five minutes or so, the Judges had four opportunities to get on the board but weren’t able to do so. Luke Teece ’12 had a great shot that just bounced off the left post. Brandeis keeper Lynch ended the game with five saves while Husky goalkeeper Steve May ’10 had seven stops to keep the shutout.

Part of what kept Brandeis down was certainly the loss of Bradley. Having received the red card in the previous game, he was unable to play in Sunday’s match against Southern Maine. “[It] was a huge loss and it certainly hurt us offensively,” admitted Coach Coven.

Despite the disappointment over how the weekend turned out, Guttman and the rest of the team are staying positive. “That was a tough loss for us, but the only thing you can do with our schedule is move forward and focus on the next game.”

The Judges had just about a week to prepare for their next game against Clark University, which will take place this Saturday at Clark at 2 PM. The past three seasons when Brandeis has faced off against Clark they have tied twice and lost once. Clark is also regarded as one of the best teams in New England, especially after their NCAA run last season, so it should be a tough match. After a week of training hard, the Judges hope for a win this weekend to even out the season to 1-1-1. “This is a very important game for us to get us back on track and jump start the season,” Coach Coven told The Hoot.

With that being said, “we just can’t show up on Saturday and expect to win,” said Guttman. “We have to come out flying and take the game to Clark, use our speed to get behind their defenders and on the other side it is necessary for us to play physical and dictate the tempo.”

“We get the opportunity to travel to Clark where they have a beautiful pitch which will make the game flow much better,” Guttman said. “The ball will be moving quickly on the floor which should make for an entertaining game.”

The Judges will play their home opener next Wednesday, Sept. 16, at 7 p.m. against WPI and as Coach Coven told The Hoot last week, the best games are those where fans come to support them.