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Globe North Sports notebook

3 from St. John’s Prep help lift Brandeis soccer

BRACKEN BRACKEN
By John Vellante
September 26, 2010

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Bracken, Farr, and Ersing lift Brandeis
What do Taylor Bracken of North Andover, Alexander Farr of Nahant, and Evan Ersing of Beverly have in common?

They all played soccer at St. John’s Prep and all are key cogs for a Brandeis University squad that was off to its best start in 25 years with wins in its first six games before losing a 2-1 thriller to MIT last Wednesday.

A senior keeper, Bracken has compiled a 4-1 record with two shutouts and a sparkling 0.62 goals against average.

Farr, a junior forward who led the Judges in scoring last season, set a program record this season when he netted three goals in a span of 4 minutes and 13 seconds.

Ersing sat out last year after reconstructive knee surgery, but the junior midfielder has returned this season to play at a level coach Mike Coven says is more than he could ever have expected.

Bracken started as a freshman (6-9-3, 1.40 GAA) and sophomore (3-3, 0.67 GAA) before sitting out his junior year for personal reasons. He had every intention of returning last season, but a perforated ulcer of the bowel kept him off the field. Now fully healthy, the fifth-year senior credits much of his success to New England Revolution reserve goalie Tim Murray, a former standout at St. John’s Prep and Providence College who currently assists Coven at Brandeis.

“It’s nice to have a pro working with us,’’ Bracken said. “He’s just so approachable, so easy to talk to about technique and how to handle certain situations. He’s helped me and the other goalkeepers tremendously.’’

Ersing, while admitting that his knee is still not 100 percent, says his recovery has been a learning process. Coven, though, is delighted that he has returned, and calls him one of the best in the University Athletic Association. “He’s contributing very well, and right now he hasn’t missed a beat,’’ said the coach.

Farr, who had four goals his freshman year and led the team with seven last season, had just one in this season’s first five games before exploding for his hat trick against Newbury.

“I’m looking for him to score more because he is a pure goal scorer,’’ said Coven. “Hopefully what he did against Newbury will jump-start him.’’

“I was in the right places at the right times,’’ said Farr of his three goals, which came at 62:25, 65:35 and 66:38. “I didn’t know scoring them in such a short time was a Brandeis record, but it’s always a good feeling when you can put your name in that book. I was playing with a lot of energy and hope that can carry over to bigger games, especially when conference play begins.’’

Ersing and Farr were teammates at St. John’s, but never played with Bracken. “But we’re all real close,’’ Ersing said. “We can relate to those days in high school. Right now, our team is on a roll, but we know the schedule is going to start getting harder and harder as the season progresses. We’re happy with where we are now, but know we can play even better.’’

Also on the Brandeis roster is freshman defender Ethan Bercelli of Derry, N.H., and Pinkerton Academy.

Mustang roundup celebrates the best
Medford will welcome 16 former athletes, a coach, the 1967 football team and two longtime supporters into its Mustang Hall of Fame at induction ceremonies Nov. 21 at the Irish American Hall in Malden.

The athletes include: Marc Bartalini (class of 1986, football, baseball and track); Dan Cappellucci (1972, football and lacrosse); David Crowley (1975, baseball, hockey and cross country); William Healy (1919, football and basketball); Veronica Lanier (1936, baseball, basketball, soccer and field hockey); Robert Maloney (1985, baseball, basketball and track); Paul McGrath (1973, basketball); Julien Mundele (2004, basketball, football and track); Sean Murphy (1983, baseball); Akilah King (2004, basketball, soccer and track); Denise Pachan (1995, basketball); George Sacco (1933, football, basketball and baseball); Kevin Scola (1991, baseball and hockey); Ralph Scudo (1989, soccer); Nick Tucci (2001, baseball); and Frank Tortorella (1943, baseball, basketball and soccer). Sacco and Healy will be inducted into the Mustang Hall of Fame posthumously.

Other honorees include: former baseball coach Paul Mattatall, who, from 1994 to 2007, won more than 150 games and led his team to six post-season tournaments; Brian Branson, (1984), team manager of the hockey, baseball, and football teams; and Ken Cooper, former member of the School Committee and a longtime supporter.

The 1967 football team went 9-0 and shared the EMass Class A title with Weymouth and Lowell. Ticket information may be obtained at mustanghalloffame.com.

Campus corner
Junior Maria Sideri of North Andover and freshman Danielle Gaudette of Nashua finished third and sixth to help Wheelock win the eight-team NECC Eagle Cross Country Invitational at Daniel Webster College in Nashua. It was Wheelock’s first win since the program attained varsity status three years ago. . . . Jamie Spano of Reading had a goal to give Merrimack a 1-0 lead and later assisted on the overtime game-winner to lift the Warriors to a 3-2 Northeast-10 Conference field hockey win over American International. . . . Salem State junior Alex Gomes of Peabody finished fifth overall in the UMass-Dartmouth Buddy Harris Invitational and was the MASCAC men’s cross-country Runner of the Week. Gomes traversed the 8K layout in 24:52, just 12 seconds off the winning time. . . . Southern New Hampshire University men’s soccer team won its first six games and was ranked No. 4 nationally in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America poll. Senior Paul D’Angelo of Gloucester captains the team and had a goal and two assists in the six wins. . . . Connecticut College senior soccer player Trevor Prophet of Nashua leads the NESCAC in scoring with three goals and seven points after three games.

Send ideas or information to JohnPVel@aol.com