Men's soccer suffers first loss of 2011 to Clark, 1-0

Worcester, Mass. (courtesy Clark University sports information) – Host Clark University scored the game's lone goal in the 49th minute and knocked off previously unbeaten Brandeis, 1-0, in a highly anticipated non-league men's soccer matchup.

With the win the Cougars improve to 4-0, while the Judges slip to 2-1.

Clark is off to its best start since 2008, when the Cougars opened up 4-0-1 and advanced to the NCAA Tournament.

Both teams had several scoring chances in the first half but neither could cash in on their opportunities with a goal.

That all changed in the opening minutes of the second half when Gianluca Ranallo (Scarsdale, N.Y.) chased down a ball on the left side and served a ball to the back post, where Josh Demers (Warwick, R.I.) headed it home for the 1-0 Clark advantage.

Ranallo and Demers almost connected on a similar play in the 71st minute but Demers' header sailed just over the crossbar.

The Judges put pressure on the Cougars in the final minutes and had an excellent chance to score when junior midfield Sam Ocel (North Attleboro, Mass./No. Attleboro) fired a point-blank shot that Clark goalkeeper Ryan King (Brimfield, Mass.) turned back in the 87th minute.

In an extremely physical contest, the game featured 31 fouls and a pair of yellow cards and Brandeis held advantages in both shots (17-7) and in corner kicks (13-2).

Junior goalie Blake Minchoff (Fiskdale, Mass./Tantasqua Regional) made a pair of saves for the Judges, while King sent aside five shots to record his first shutout of the season.

Clark returns to the field on Wednesday when they visit Colby-Sawyer, while Brandeis hosts WPI on Wednesday as well.