The pouring rain could not cool down the Judges’ desire to win on Saturday night, Sept. 13, as they dominated on the field against Clark University with a final score of 4-0. The Judges have cruised to a five-game winning streak, raising their rank to 9th in the whole country. The unyielding aggressiveness from the defensive end and the amazing resonance among different players was perfectly displayed in this game.
An absolute control over the midfield was the key to the Judges’ 27-6 outshot against Clark. All players seemed extremely energized as they fought for possession of the ball. Brandon Miskin ’18 tried to intercept the ball with his chest in the opponent penalty area, while Zach Vieria ’17 was even fighting for the possession outside the field after an out-of-bounds call.
Apart from the aggressive physical defense, the Judges outplayed Clark through team coordination and cooperation among players. During the game, Michael Soboff ’16 intentionally missed touching the ball, so that Patrick Flahive ’18 could have an open shot. This instance illustrated how well the Brandeis players were interacting with each other. The transition of the ball from left wing to right wing was everywhere through the game, in which the left-wing player Mike Lynch ’17 played a huge role.
“It is a difficult position to play because you are sprinting up and down the field the whole time you are out there,but I love playing it,” he said. Lynch also discussed his past injuries: “I was out for five months with the concussion, which was extremely difficult for me … In the off-season, I worked out as much as possible to prepare myself to be 100 percent for the season, and it feels great to be playing how I can.” Lynch has rebounded from his injuries already—he has notched two assists and played in all of the five games this season as a starter. “Being in the starting lineup is a huge honor after not being in it last season. It definitely helps build confidence going into games,” said Lynch.
Similar to Lynch’s circumstance, Josh Ocel ’17 has also suffered from a serious leg injury during the last season. But in the first five games for the new season, Ocel has completely succeeded, as he scored three goals along with five assists to become the points leader of the whole team. This past Saturday night was an opportunity for him to shine, as he scored one goal and provided two assists. Ocel even stole the ball several times in the game which led to threatening attacks to the opponent goal. To a college soccer team, the fact that these young sophomore players are shining early in the season is hopeful, because then the vitality of the team will not fade easily when senior players graduate.
To the players themselves, this winning streak is not out of the ordinary. Lynch referred to last season as a comparison: “We started last season out 5-0 as well, so I believe it is about the same,” he said. The team has never forgotten how they were eliminated twice from the Sweet 16 by Williams College in the last two seasons. “… I believe we all think we have a lot to prove this season. We want to make it past the Sweet 16, and it all starts with the hard work at the beginning of the season. We cannot have any letdowns … we can’t look past any team we play this year,” said Lynch.
The Judges certainly can’t wait to meet their next opponent, the Tufts Jumbos, on Saturday Sept. 20. Lynch stated that “everyone has been looking forward to [this game] all year,” since the Judges were most recently defeat by Tufts in the last season.