Men's soccer defeats Brandeis

The clouds that had held steady all week long parted on Friday, just in time to shine some sun on the Carnegie Mellon men?s soccer game at Gesling Stadium. The whistle blew and the Tartans began play at 5:30 pm, facing a tough Brandeis University team. Through a tough defensive battle, Carnegie Mellon came out on top, edging out a 1?0 victory over the Judges. The win improves the men?s team to 8?1?1 overall and 2?1 in division play.
The Tartans started the game strong, getting a shot off in the first 20 seconds of the half. Although caught slightly off guard, Brandeis quickly recovered and matched their opponents? intensity. The Judges? speed and aggression was matched by the Tartans as the two teams began what would be a struggle to put points on the board. Within the first five minutes of the game, a player was already injured; Scott Zackaroff, a defender for Brandeis, went up for a header off a Carnegie Mellon throw-in and collided with a CMU player. Zackaroff had to be attended off the field, but the game continued, depleting the Judges? backline.
The remainder of the first half was fast-paced and the energy was consistent. Brandeis? playing style was energetic and somewhat haphazard, while the Tartans connected more passes and kept the frenzied and vocal Judges at bay. With a little over six minutes left in the first half, the Tartans had a close call defensively. The Judges played it short off a corner kick, and went for a quick give-and-go pass, giving them the opportunity for a shot to the lower left corner. Luckily, the shot went wide, and the first half closed scoreless.
The second half of the game was equally intense. Whistles blew, bodies flew, and the yells of the players (mostly Brandeis players) and fans alike echoed across the field. The Tartans dominated the second half, having the ball down on the Judges? end of the field for the majority of the period. Despite the offensive pressure, Brandeis still had opportunities, the closest coming 70 minutes into the game on a crossing shot. However, first-year keeper Matthew Bazin made a spectacular diving one-handed save, tapping the ball out of bounds, before it could sail in to right side of the goal.
Hope shined anew for the Tartans when, with 17 minutes left in the second half, Brandeis? keeper Matt Kaplan fouled Tartan junior forward Andy Park on a breakaway. The foul resulted in a direct kick just outside the box. Fans and players held their breaths in anticipation as number 21, senior Dan Mastalski, set up to take the kick for the Tartans. Suddenly, the crowd let out a cry of ecstatic joy and excitement as Mastalski put the ball past Kaplan, bringing the Tartans to a 1?0 lead. This goal would prove to be the difference maker, as the Carnegie Mellon defense held tight to preserve a 1?0 victory. Coupled with a 2?1 win against NYU Sunday, the team improved to 3?1 in league play and 9?1?1 overall.