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Men’s soccer runs unbeaten streak to 16 with 1-0 win over Wheaton

By Brian Tabakin

Section: Sports

October 5, 2012

After seeing their winning streak come to an end this past Saturday after a 1-1 tie against the University of Rochester, the Judges rebounded with a 1-0 victory over Wheaton on Wednesday. The Judges are now 10-0-1 on the season (0-0-1 UAA) and are now 15-0-1 in their last 16 games, which date back to last season, breaking the school record for most consecutive games without a loss. The Judges narrowly missed out on the school record for most consecutive wins after fighting Rochester to a draw earlier in the week.

The first half saw a very slow pace of play with neither team able to sneak the ball past the keeper. Brandeis outshot the Wheaton Lyons 9-3 and had a 7-0 advantage in corner kicks in the first half but Wheaton rookie keeper Matt Dickey kept the Judges off the scoreboard, making four saves, including a stop in the closing seconds of the first half on Tudor Livadaru ’14.

Tyler Savonen ’15 mentioned, “I think we shifted our game plan, not consciously, from possession soccer to sort of a kick-and-run style. We didn’t stay calm at the start, but it was good to get the win.”

Wheaton had their first quality scoring chance in the 60th minute of the second half when rookie Kai Gooden was able to put a shot on goal. Brandeis keeper Blake Minchoff ’13 denied the initial shot from Gooden and dodged a bullet when sophomore Travis Blair’s attempted rebound, sailed wide of the net.

Brandeis immediately took advantage of the Lyons’ inability to convert their scoring chance, pushing the offense down the pitch and once again putting pressure on the Lyons rookie keeper. Once again, however, Dickey stood on his head for the Lyons, making his best save of the night on Sam Ocel ’13, forcing a rebound effort from Ben Applefield ’14 high over the crossbar.

The teams proceeded to trade shots up-and-down the field before Livadaru broke the scoreless tie in the 72nd minute of play. Livadaru received a long clear at midfield and then dribbled upfield for roughly 30 yards before releasing a one-timer from the right side of the field where he hooked past Dickey to put the Judges on top 1-0. The goal was the third of Livadaru’s career and his first game-winner.

After Livadaru’s goal, Wheaton maintained consistent offensive pressure on the Judges for the closing 18 minutes, but the Judges’ defense and Minchoff were able to keep them off of the scoreboard to preserve the 1-0 victory.

Earlier in the week, the Judges traveled to face the Rochester Yellowjackets in the opening match of UAA conference play.

As expected, the Yelllowjackets and the Judges played a very tight match with neither team able to dictate the pace. Savonen claimed, “we knew going into Rochester that they would be the toughest team we played yet.”

The Yellowjackets first got on the board when Max Fan played a corner kick to Ben Keeton who was closing on goal from the left side of the field. Keeton’s shot was initially blocked by the Judges’ defense, but the ball then rolled dangerously along the edge of the crease where Max Eberhardt was able to slide it into the net before Minchoff could gain control of the ball to give Rochester a 1-0 lead.

Savonen added, “Rochester scores a lot of goals like that. We missed the clearance and the ball bounced around the box. It wasn’t really deflating, it just happens. But we did a good job staying positive and not freaking out.”

Neither team was able to generate sustained offense pressure for the rest of the first half and the Yellowjackets took a key 1-0 lead into halftime.

The Judges came out aggressively after halftime, pressing the Rochester defense. Savonen was denied twice in the opening minutes of the second half by Rochester keeper Scott Garfing. Both shots resulted in corner kicks, but the Judges were unable to convert either of the corners into goals.

When it looked like the Judges winning—and undefeated—streak was coming to a close, the Judges offense finally beat Garfing. In the 85th minute of play, Savonen gathered a loose ball in the box, and then made a move to beat his defender as he let loose a 12-yard shot that beat Garfing to his right to tie the game at 1-1.

Savonen was confident that if he hadn’t scored the goal then someone else would have. “We had pressured them the entire second half. It felt good being me, but I knew if I hadn’t someone else would have put one through.”

Immediately after Savonen’s goal, the Judges continued to sustain offensive pressure as they looked to win the game in regulation. Lee Russo ’13 came extremely close to scoring the deciding goal in the 88th minute of regulation. Russo burst through the Rochester defense on the right side and fired a 15-yard shot on goal; however, Garfing was able to punch the ball out to his defenders who then cleared the ball and effectively ended the Judges’ threat.

In the first overtime neither team was able to generate any quality scoring chances in a defensive struggle and so the match headed to a second overtime. In the second OT, Fan nearly won the match for Rochester. With six minutes remaining, Fan took a corner kick on the left corner, attempting to curl the kick into the goal. The shot caught Minchoff off-guard who had to backpedal and palm it away from the goal and toward the Judges’ defenders to clear the ball.

Savonen said, “I feel like once we got into overtime, fatigue definitely became a factor. We had a couple of chances. [Kyle] Feather had a header that hit the crossbar.”

The game was extremely even throughout, with Brandeis registering 17 shots, eight on goal, compared to 15 shots, nine on goal, for Rochester. The Judges also enjoyed a 17-11 advantage in corner kicks.

The Judges will return to conference play when they host Case Western Saturday at 1:30 p.m.

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