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Men’s soccer entering the Final Four

By David Aizenberg and Zach Cihlar

Section: Sports

December 1, 2017

The Brandeis men’s soccer team extended their postseason two weeks longer with two wins on Saturday, Nov. 18 and Sunday, Nov. 19 in the NCAA national tournament.

The team won their third round against Drew University with a 1-0 win. Entering the game, Drew had an undefeated record, going 21-0-1 for their entire season. Brandeis ended both their perfect record and season with a goal from Mike Lynch ’18. The senior scored the only goal of the game with a header into the net off an assist from captain Josh Ocel ’18 in the 52nd minute. It was Lynch’s 12th goal of the season and his fourth game-winner of the season.

The Judges dominated the offense for most of the first half, leading in shots throughout the half. Though slipping on offense a little in the second half, they were able to capitalize on a Drew foul and earn the goal around seven minutes after the blow of the whistle to start the second half. The rest of the second half saw back-and-forth possession between the two teams, splitting in shots 5-5 in the half. The Judges held off the opposing team to earn the Elite Eight berth.

In the goal, Ben Woodhouse ’18 held off two shots on goal from the Drew team, with his third straight shutout and the 22nd of his career.

The Brandeis men’s soccer team continued their stellar run in the Division III NCAA national tournament by knocking out the Tufts Jumbos 1-0 in the Elite Eight, pushing the team into the Final Four for the second year in a row.

In another hard-fought game, team captain Patrick Flahive ’18 scored the lone goal of the game with time running out in the second overtime period. With the win, the Judges knocked out the defending national champions and booked their spot in the Final Four on Friday, Dec. 1 against Messiah College in Greensboro, North Carolina, at 5 p.m.

As both teams traded shots throughout the game, senior goalie Woodhouse shined brightly for the Judges yet again, finishing with seven saves (six of the saves coming in the second half) on his way to the 39th win of his career. Woodhouse’s solid play gave way for the Judges offense to excel, and the Judges were rewarded off a Flahive goal with just over one minute left in the game.

A long pass from Josh Berg ’18 led to an up-for-grabs ball for Lynch and the Tufts goalie. Flahive ended up with the ball and scored on a 30-yard shot. Despite being outshot 17-12, the Judges took the offense in the overtime periods, outshooting Tufts 3-2. The Judges goal was only the second goal allowed by Tufts all season. The goal secured Brandeis’ spot in the Final Four for the second consecutive year.

The victory over Tufts was the Judges’ second time in as many years knocking out the defending champions in the Elite Eight (the Judges defeated Amherst last year). Further, this is the first season for head coach Gabe Margolis, who replaced the legendary coach Mike Coven at the conclusion of the 2016 season.

The Final Four game has Brandeis scheduled to play Messiah College, a team from Mechanicsburg, PA. Messiah College has an 18-2-0 record for their season, and defeated University Athletic Association team University of Rochester in their path to the Final Four.

United Soccer Coaches ranked Messiah at ninth in the country, a full nine spots ahead of the Judges. Calculated prior to the start of the NCAA tournament, Tufts received a ranking of third in the country, an incredible win for the Judges in the Elite Eight. Using the momentum from the statistical upset, the Judges will travel to North Carolina to earn a chance to enter the Championship game. NCAA’s GameCenter has the odds in Messiah’s favor in its result prediction, giving a 73 percent likelihood of a Messiah win against the Judges.

The game will begin at 5 p.m. and can be live-streamed at brandeisjudges.com.

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