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After ECAC title, Judges look toward future

By Brian Tabakin

Section: Sports

November 18, 2011

The top-seeded Brandeis Judges repeated as ECAC Division III New England champs with an 8-0 blowout win against second-seeded Albertus Magnus College on Gordon Field Sunday at noon. Brandeis finishes the season at 15-5-1 while Albertus Magnus finishes at 17-4-1.

Midfielder Joe Eisenbies ’13 was named the tournament’s most valuable player. Eisenbies led a sensational defensive performance for the Judges. Brandeis held all three of their opponents to a combined nine shots. Throughout the tournament, the Judges outshot their opponents 93-9, including 30-4 against Albertus Magnus.

Eisenbies paced the Judges to a new single season record with .61 shutouts per game—13 shutouts in 21 matches—including four in a row to end the season. Of the Judges’ 15 victories this season, 13 of them came via shutout. Goalie Blake Minchoff ’13 finished the season with 12 individual shutouts, finishing just two shy of the school record.

The Judges led an extremely balanced offensive attack throughout the game, with seven players tallying eight goals and five players totaling 10 assists. Forward Steve Keuchkarian ’12 was the only Judges player to score two goals during the contest. Keuchkarian scored the winning goal when he angled the ball from the deep right sideline into the far left corner of the net, which put the Judges ahead 1-0 just 7:03 into the contest. Midfielder Theo Harris ’12 assisted on the play, finishing the campaign with a team leading eight assists.

Forward Alexander Farr ’12 and forward Lee Russo ’13 were each involved in three goals with a goal and two assists for the pair. Farr and Russo became the 20th and 21st players in Brandeis history to record 50 career points. Farr finished his collegiate career in 19th place with 23 goals and six assists for 52 points, while Russo will enter his senior season tied for 20th with 50 points. Russo and Farr passed Albertus Magnus associate head coach and Brandeis Hall of Famer Frank Raio ’84 who had 49 career points.

Other offensive highlights for the Judges included a goal and an assist from forward Sam Ocel ’13, two assists from defender Ben Applefield ’14, and the first career goal for defender David McCoy ’12 in the 64th minute.

In his 39 seasons Brandeis head coach Mike Coven has led his team to four ECAC crowns; the other titles were in 1994, 2006 and 2010. The Judges have won nine-straight ECAC tournament games dating back to the 2006 championship. With 15 wins this season, the Judges tallied the most wins by the Brandeis men’s soccer team since 1997.

Looking forward to next season, the Judges will surely miss the leadership and scoring of Farr; however, Russo should be able to fill the gap left by Farr. Russo has substantial offensive gifts, as seen by his amazing 50 points after his junior year. As a senior, Russo will likely take on an expanded leadership role along with his classmates Minchoff, Eisenbies and Ocel.

Along with Farr, the Judges will also miss the collective leadership of Terris, forward Luke Teece ’12, Keuchkarian and McCoy.

Expect defender Tyler Savonen ’15 to have a more prominent role with the team next season.

Furthermore, it remains to be seen if Minchoff can continue his near flawless play in net next year. While there have been no indications that he will take a step backward, it is difficult to duplicate the spectacular and sensational season he had this year.

While the Judges are losing a key group of seniors going into next season, they have enough talent on the team to overcome these losses as they look to win a third straight ECAC title next season.

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