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Men’s soccer avoids emotional letdown with win over Wentworth

By Brian Tabakin

Section: Sports

September 28, 2012

Six days after a hard-fought, emotional win over rival Babson, the Judges traveled to Wentworth to face the Wentworth Leopards. The Judges are currently ranked fifth in the D3Soccer.com national poll and 10th in the most recent NSCAA poll. Coach Mike Coven was not entirely pleased with the Judges’ performance.

It was a “real ugly game and difficult to play,” he said, but admitted that the team “can’t fire on all cylinders all the time.” Despite the team’s sloppy and uneven play on both offense and defense the Judges were still able to pull out the win to stay undefeated.

Coven expected a letdown after an “emotionally draining” game against Babson, but he “didn’t expect this much of a letdown.” He continued to say that it was good and that “we still won as horribly as we played.” He called the game a learning experience. “I feel like the guys know now that you can’t play this bad against better competition and expect to win.”

Lee Russo ’13 echoed Coven’s sentiment.

“Not to make excuses but it’s a tough game,” Russo said. “It’s right after the Babson game and everyone took so much energy to get pumped and it’s right before the Rochester game. It’s kind of a trap game.”

Their record now stands at 9-0-0 as they prepare for the first UAA match of the season against Rochester.

The Judges started the game with an early malaise that nearly put them in an early hole. Just two minutes into the game, Wentworth senior forward Matt Racca got through the Brandeis defense and put a shot on goal that Brandeis keeper Blake Minchoff ’13 managed to save. After the close call, the Judges picked up their game and started to control the play for the rest of the first half. The Judges’ sloppiness, however, crossed over to the offensive side of the ball as they could not take advantage of the multiple opportunities that they had to score. Wentworth junior keeper Cody Gibb made an excellent save on Kyle Feather ’14 to keep the Judges off of the board in the seventh minute of play, corralling the ball off of a diving header from Feather.

Wentworth finally made the Judges’ pay for their failure to execute early in the second half. In the 58th minute of play, Leopard sophomore Erik Shaw ran along the right sideline and played a cross to teammate Connor Gullifer who headed the ball past Minchoff and into the net.

The Wentworth goal finally appeared to wakeup the Judges. Just 44 seconds after the goal, Sam Ocel ’13 fed Feather a pass and Feather then beat Gibb to the right side to tie the game at 1-1.

The Judges scored the game-winning goal in the 82nd minute of play. Tudor Livadaru ’14 placed a perfect pass to Lee Russo ’13 who then played it on net. While Gibb, initially appeared to stop the ball, the ball found its way over the goal-line to put the Judges ahead. The goal was Russo’s team-leading ninth of the season.

After breaking away into a one-on-one with Minchoff, Racca had a chance to tie the game in the 87th minute and send the game into overtime; however, Minchoff came out and made the necessary save to preserve the Judges’ 2-1 victory.

Coven thought many of the Judges’ offensive problems stemmed from Wentworth’s smaller field. Part of the Judges’ game plan focuses on using their skill to stretch out the opposing defense and create space to then execute their offense.

“We need a big field to stretch out the defense. There just wasn’t enough space to create what we wanted to do,” he said.

The Judges travel to face Rochester on Saturday at 7 p.m.

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