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Lee Russo ’13 lifts men’s soccer past MIT

By Brian Tabakin

Section: Sports

September 23, 2011

The Brandeis men’s soccer team continued their early season excellence in a 2-0 victory against the visiting MIT Engineers. The game marked the fourth time in the first five games that Brandeis goalie Blake Minchoff ’13 has recorded a shutout. With the win, the Judges improved to 4-1 on the season, while the Engineers fell to 4-2 after two consecutive losses.

Brandeis dictated the tempo early in the game as the Judges consistently kept the pressure on MIT senior goalie Dylan Rankin. Rankin made a sensational save to keep the Judges off the scoreboard in the 11th minute, diving to his right at the far post to deflect the first shot of the game, a free kick by midfielder Joe Eisenbies ’13.

Lee Russo ’13 managed to score a few minutes later, in the 18th minute. Forward Sam Ocel ’13 made a spectacular cross through the goal to Russo, who headed it past an outstretched and diving Rankin at the 17:03 mark to give Brandeis an early 1-0 lead. The goal was Russo’s second of the season and his 13th collegiate goal.

Rankin made two saves on Russo in the 21st and 23rd minutes to keep his team in the game. In the 40th minute, Rankin came out of nowhere to deny Tyler Savonen ’15 a goal. The Engineers finally managed to get a shot on goal in the 42nd minute; however, Minchoff made the save to maintain the Judges 1-0 lead at the half. Brandeis outshot MIT 8-3 in the first half and held a 3-2 advantage in corner kicks.

Rankin made two early saves in the second half to once again keep Brandeis off the board. However, Minchoff arguably had the save of the game in the 57th minute. Minchoff got in front of a rocket off the foot of MIT forward Zach Kabelac, MIT’s leading scorer. Minchoff deflected the shot across the goalmouth and then made a diving save on sophomore Jonathan Tebes, who had gained control of the rebound, to preserve the shutout.

Brandeis and MIT continued in a tug-of-war match with each team going back and forth between their respective offensive and defensive zones. MIT added an extra forward to the field in an attempt to gain an offensive advantage; however, Brandeis relied on their defense to successfully counterattack MIT’s extra offensive pressure for the majority of the second half.

Russo added his second goal of the game with just 1.7 seconds remaining when he arched a kick into the air from midfield. Rankin scrambled back to his net but the ball bounced across the goal line as time expired.

Minchoff finished the game with four saves and Rankin finished the game with seven. For the game, Brandeis outshot MIT 15-8 while corner kicks were even at 4-4. Brandeis improved to 28-24-3 against MIT all-time. The two teams have split their last six meetings 3-3.

Brandeis will travel to Babson College Saturday for a non-conference contest at 1 p.m. The Judges will return to Brandeis to host Wentworth Institute of Technology on Tuesday, Sept. 27.

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