Ocel buries Babson in double OT, 2-1

Lee Russo '13 (left) and Sam Ocel '13 (photo courtesy Sportspix.biz)
Lee Russo '13 (left) and Sam Ocel '13 (photo courtesy Sportspix.biz)
WALTHAM, Mass. – The 12th-ranked Brandeis University men's soccer team rallied from a halftime deficit tonight to defeat rival Babson College, 2-1, in double overtime, thanks to goals by a pair of seniors, Lee Russo (Westford, Mass./Westford Acad.) and Sam Ocel (No. Attleboro, Mass./No. Attleboro). The duo combined for both goals and the Judges' lone assist.

The game-winning goal came 1:56 into the second overtime period. Deep in the Babson end of the field, Russo took a long throw-in into the box. Ocel, at the near post, headed it across the goal mouth, hoping to find a teammate, but instead found the back of the net for his fourth goal of the season and his third game-winner. The team was swarmed on the field by the newly-christened Coven's Corner fans as they won their fourth-straight one-goal game. Ocel's goal was the 14th of his career and gave him 45 career points, the 28th player to reach that total at Brandeis.

Trailing 1-0 at halftime for the second time this season, the Judges had what 40th-year head coach Mike Coven called the team's strongest half of soccer of the year. They outshot the Beavers, 16-6, and finally got an equalizer in the 66th minute.

Babson junior goalkeeper Jackson Klein (Maplewood, N.J./Columbia), who had made a pair of saves on Russo and sophomore Tyler Savonen (Orleans, Mass./Nauset Regional) in the 58th minute, looked to stymie the Judges again eight minutes later. Klein first stoned Russo and then Ocel's initial rebound, but Russo buried his second attempt to knot the game, 1-1. It was Russo's team-leading eighth goal of the season and the 28th of his career, moving him into ninth place on Brandeis's career list. With three points tonight, he became the 13th 70-point scorer in school history.

      The first half was a back-and-forth affair, with the Judges outshooting Babson, 6-4, but it was the Beavers who struck first in the 29th minute. Senior All-American Eric Anderson (Scituate, Mass./The Rivers School) victimized the Judges for the seventh time in his career. After junior Mike Fisher (Longmeadow, Mass./Longmeadow) made a nice service from the right flank, classmate Kevin Israel (Lafayette Hill, Pa./Germantown Acad.) redirected it to Anderson, who headed it home for his team-leading seventh goal of the season.

      Klein kept the Beavers in the contest with 10 saves, including eight in the second half. Brandeis senior Blake Minchoff (Fiskdale, Mass./Tantasqua Regional) had two stops for the Judges.

With the win, Brandeis improves to 8-0 overall this season and has now won 13 in a row dating back to 2011. The Judges are off to their best start since 1985, when they won their first 15 in a row. They also snapped a three-match losing streak to their rivals. This was the 60th meeting between the two schools and the third straight that was decided in double overtime.

Babson, ranked seventh in New England drops its second-straight contest to fall to 5-2-1 on the campaign. The Beavers still lead the all-time series, 28-22-10.


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