Men's soccer defends XARA Soccer title with 4-0 win over host Keene State

The Judges won back-to-back Xara Classic titles with a 4-0 win over Keene State
The Judges won back-to-back Xara Classic titles with a 4-0 win over Keene State

KEENE, N.H. (courtesy Keene State sports information) –  The Brandeis men's soccer team won for the sixth-straight time dating back to last season today, cruising past host Keene State College, 4-0, to win the Xara Men's Soccer Classic.

Brandeis (2-0) scored three first half goals and coasted to their shutout win over the Owls (1-1) in the second game of the day after Ithaca College (1-1) defeated Nichols College (0-2) 2-1 in the first contest.

History repeated itself in the second game, as Brandeis, which blanked KSC 5-0 in last year's tournament, struck for three quick first half goals on Sunday.

Brandeis' first goal was scored on a free kick by senior Sam Ocel (North Attleboro, Mass./North Attleboro) at the 23:50 mark of the first half.  The Judges were given the direct kick after a yellow card was given to Owl junior goalie Malcolm Cheney (Hopkinton, Mass.). 

Keene State's best opportunity to score in the half came less than a minute later. Coming off the bench, freshman Eric Dietz (Woodland, Conn.) broke in alone, but his bid was denied by Brandies senior goalie Blake Minchoff (Fiskdale, Mass./Tantasqua Regional).

Cheney temporarily kept it a one goal game when he made a diving save on a drive by Ocel. However, Brandeis took over from there, netting two more goals to take a commanding 3-0 halftime lead.  Sophomore back Tyler Savonen (Orleans, Mass./Nauset Regional) beat Cheney with a shot to the far corner with 9:12 left in the first half, and junior forward Tudor Livadaru (Bronx, N.Y./Riverdale-Kingsbridge Acad.) scored on a header with 4:34 to go in the half to make it 3-0 as Ocel had the assist.

Sophomore Mike Ketterman (Monson, Mass.) took over in goal for KSC in the second half, but that didn't slow down the Judges.  Ocel finished off a crossing ball from Savonen five minutes into the half to push the Brandeis lead up to 4-0. Ocel finished with five points on the day, a career-high, in the second multi-goal game of his career.   

KSC was unable to convert in its few scoring opportunities.  Later in the half, freshman Rushane Kelly (Keene, N.H.) broke in alone, but his shot sailed wide of the post.

"We had two great games up here.  I don't know what it is?  Maybe it's the clean New Hampshire air," said Brandeis Coach Mike Coven.  "We like playing here. This is a great facility, great field and I think good teams play well on fields like this.  Keene is a real good team and we just played well the last two years up here." 

The Judges outshot the Owls 14-10.  Cheney and Ketterman each played a half in goal and made one save.  Minchoff stopped three shots to post his second consecutive shutout of the season and sixth in a row dating to 2011. He now has 14 clean sheets in his career.

Earning All-Tournament honors for the Judges were Minchoff, Ocel, Savonen and senior Lee Russo (Westford, Mass./Westford Acad.) who had two goals in the opener against Ithaca College. Minchoff took home honors for the second year in a row.