#18 men rally past Springfield, 3-1

Steve Salazar '14 and Kyle Feather '14 (photos by sportspix)
Steve Salazar '14 and Kyle Feather '14 (photos by sportspix)
WALTHAM, Mass. – For the fourth time this season, the Brandeis men's soccer team surrendered the game's first goal but rallied to win, as the 18th-ranked Judges defeated visiting Springfield College, 3-1, on Gordon Field tonight. With the win, Brandeis improves to 13-1-1 on the season, while the Pride sees its three-match winning streak snapped as they fall to 5-9-1.

Springfield opened the scoring in the 14th minute. The Pride caught Brandeis senior goalkeeper Blake Minchoff (Fiskdale, Mass./Tantasqua Regional) off his line going after a ball and were able to get numbers in the box. Junior midfielder Scott Saucier (Derry, N.H./Pinkerton Acad.) put his initial shot off the left post, but junior midfielder Danny Amato (Newington, Conn./Newington) was there for the rebound into an open net. It was Amato's team-leading fourth goal of the season, while Saucier's assist was his fifth of the campaign.

The Judges equalized 20 minutes later in the 34th minute. Sophomore back Robbie Lynch (Weymouth, Mass./Weymouth) lofted a ball from the defensive end into the Springfield goal box. Junior Steve Salazar (Revere, Mass./Malden Catholic) was able to beat SC rookie goalkeeper Billy Schmid (Wethersfield, Conn./Wethersfield) to the ball and knock it into a wide-open net. Salazar's second goal of the season came less than two minutes after he had taken the field as an injury replacement. The score remained tied at 1-1 the half, with the Judges holding a slim 6-5 edge in shots and a 4-0 lead in corner kicks.

The game-winning goal came just 1:58 into the second half. The play started with service by Lynch to classmate Tyler Savonen (Orleans, Mass./Nauset Regional). Savonen flicked a ball with his head through to the six-yard line to senior midfielder Sam Ocel (No. Attleboro, Mass./No. Attleboro). Ocel's initial shot was saved by Schmid, but junior Kyle Feather (Pinebrook, N.J./Montville Township) was on the spot to blast home his fourth goal of the season. Ocel's assist on the play was his team-leading eight of the season.

The Pride increased their pressure in the final 20 minutes of play, getting off four shots in that span, but Minchoff made a couple of saves to preserve the one-goal lead. Brandeis added a late insurance goal with 22 seconds left in regulation when senior Lee Russo (Westford, Mass./Westford Acad.) took advantage of a bad back-pass by the SC defense to pot his 11th goal of the season.

The Judges finished with a 13-12 edge in shots, including 8-4 in shots on goal, and a 7-1 advantage in corner kicks. Minchoff finished with three saves for the Judges, while Schmid, who made his first collegiate start, had five stops in the losing effort.

Brandeis returns to action next Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. for a non-conference contest with Mount Ida College, while Springfield faces Babson at noon on Saturday in a NEWMAC contest.