Russo tallies twice to lift men's soccer past MIT, 2-0

Lee Russo '13 (photo by Sportspix)
Lee Russo '13 (photo by Sportspix)

WALTHAM, Mass. – Brandeis University junior forward Lee Russo (Westford, Mass./Westford Acad.) scored twice, once in each half, to lead the host Judges past visiting MIT, 2-0, on Gordon Field. With the win, Brandeis improves to 4-1 on the season, while the Engineers dip to 4-2 with their second-straight loss.

      In the first half, MIT senior goalkeeper Dylan Rankin (Providence, R.I./Moses Brown School) kept the game scoreless in the 11th minute. He made a diving save to his right, at the far post on a free kick by Judge junior midfielder Joe Eisenbies (Hingham, Mass./Hingham) from just outside the 18, the first shot of the game.

On the second attempt of the contest, Russo found the back of the net in the 18th minute. Junior forward Sam Ocel (No. Attleboro, Mass./No. Attleboro) made a terrific cross through the goalmouth. Russo headed it past an outstretched Rankin at 17:03 to give Brandeis the 1-0 lead. It was Russo's second of the season and the 13th goal of his career.

Rankin stopped Russo twice more in the 21st and 23rd minutes to keep it a one-goal game. In the 40th minute, Rankin came out of nowhere to stone Brandeis rookie Tyler Savonen (Orleans, Mass./Nauset Regional). The Engineers finally put one on net in the 42nd minute, but Brandeis junior Blake Minchoff (Fiskdale, Mass./Tantasqua Regional) made the stop to give the hosts the one-goal lead at the half. Brandeis outshot MIT, 8-3, in the stanza and owned a 3-2 edge in corner kicks.

After Rankin made two more stops early in the second half, Minchoff had his shining moment in the 57th minute. He got in front of a hard shot off the foot of MIT's leading scorer, senior forward Zach Kabelac (Potomac, Md./Winston Churchill). The rebound went across the goalmouth to sophomore Jonathan Tebes (Hamden, Conn./Hamden), but Minchoff made a diving stop to preserve the shutout.

The game went back and forth the rest of the way, with MIT adding an extra forward to the field and Brandeis able to counterattack. Russo added his second goal of the game with just 1.7 seconds left on the clock when he lofted a high ball from midfield as Rankin scrambled back to his net. It bounced once and crossed the goal line just as before time ran out.

Minchoff finished with four saves for the Judges, earning his fourth shutout of the season in the process, while Rankin made seven stops for the Engineers. Brandeis outshot, MIT, 15-8, while corner kicks were even at 4-4. With the win, Brandeis improves to 28-24-3 against MIT in the second-most played rivalry in Judges' men's soccer history. The two sides have alternated wins in the last six contests.

Brandeis will travel to Babson College this Saturday for a 1 p.m. non-conference contest, while MIT has a 5 p.m. game on Wednesday at Roger Williams.