WALTHAM, Mass. – Junior midfielder Kyle Feather (Pinebrook, N.J./Montville Township) connected with senior Sam Ocel (North Attleboro, Mass./North Attleboro) for a goal in each half tonight to lead the Brandeis University men's soccer team past visiting Emory University, 3-1, in a meeting of two of the four University Athletic Association (UAA) co-leaders entering the night. With the win, the 17th-ranked Judges improve to 15-1-1 on the season, 3-1-1 in the UAA, while the Eagles fall to 8-6-2, 2-2-1 in the conference.
Brandeis opened the scoring in the 22nd minute. Feather dribbled through the 18-yard box towards the goal line. He sent a ball towards the far right post past the Emory goalkeeper, and Ocel was there to finish for his eighth goal of the season.
Emory would outshoot Brandeis, 5-1, for the rest of the half, but Judge senior goalkeeper Blake Minchoff (Fiskdale, Mass./Tantasqua Regional) made a nice save in the waning moments when he tipped rookie Connor Curtin's (Louisville, Ky./Trinity) header off a free kick over the crossbar. The Eagles also hit the bar in the 43rd minute, but sophomore Stephen Gathman's (Odessa, Fla./Jesuit Tampa) attempts glanced high.
Ocel scored the game-winning goal just 3:11 into the second half. After a long throw-in by senior forward Lee Russo (Westford, Mass./Westford Acad.), the ball was batted around the box. It eventually found its way to Feather, who tapped it to Ocel for his second goal of the game and ninth of the season. It marked his second multi-goal game of the season and third of his career. For Feather, it was the first game of his career with multiple helpers.
Brandeis added a third goal in the 81st minute, when sophomore forward Tyler Savonen (Orleans, Mass./Nauset Regional) ran on to a ball played by rookie reserve Josh Hacunda (Hopkinton, Mass./Hopkinton). Savonen was alone against the keeper and slotted it home for his fifth of the season. The assist was the first of Hacunda's collegiate career.
Emory spoiled Minchoff's shutout bid in the 88th minute when senior Andrew Natalino (Marietta, Ga./Walton) took a free kick from just outside the box. He bent the ball around the Brandeis wall and it scooted past Minchoff for Natalino's 12th goal of the season.
Emory ended up outshooting Brandeis, 11-9, for the contest, while earning a 3-2 edge in corner kicks. Minchoff made three saves to earn the win, while rookie Abe Hannigan (Montrose, N.Y./Hendrick Hudson) had just one second-half stop to suffer the loss.
With the victory tonight, Brandeis reaches the 15-win mark for the second year in a row and the seventh time in program history. It is the first time they have won 15 regular-season matches since 1997. The Judges, who were in a four-way tie with Emory, NYU and Carnegie Mellon for first place in the UAA to start the night, are now deadlocked with only CMU. The Tartans defeated NYU, 4-1, today. Brandeis and Carnegie Mellon will meet on Sunday at 1:30 p.m. for the UAA lead.