Tuesday evening, Sept. 1 was the perfect way to open the men’s soccer season at home on Gordon Field. The Judges started the season with a 1-0 victory over Bridgewater State. The weather was beautiful, warranting a large crowd for the pre-game tailgate with chips, popcorn and free Jury shirts, which marked the last event of Orientation. The stands were filled with supporters, while Louis the judge pumped up the onlookers for what would be a close game.
The first shot attempt of the game was made within the first five minutes by Brandeis’ mid-fielder Jesse Caron ’17. Subsequent attempts to score were made by Josh Ocel ’17 with five attempts, Jake Picard ’16, Robbie Lynch ’16, Josh Berg ’16 with two attempts and Zach Vieira ’17, with one attempt. The best opportunity for the Judges to score was when a header by Vieira from six yards away sailed high of the net. The Judges while not scoring were able to get in more attempts than Bridgewater’s three by dominating the field.
With the first period resulting in a 0-0 score despite there being several attempts by both teams, the second half started to heat up as the teams became desparate to make it on the score board. Brandeis once again was able to get in the first attempt to score at the start of the second half when Ocel’s shot was blocked at 55:17. This was soon followed by a failed attempt from Bridgewater that went wide. Bridgewater went on to make three more unsuccessful attempts to score against the Judges. Brandeis tried to score five times in the second half which continued to produce little success.
It was clear that both teams were becoming frustrated and tension was mounting. There were 14 fouls total and two yellow cards issued (one for each team) before the first goal of the game was finally made. In the 81st minute, Brandeis’ sophomore Christian Hernandez fired the strike that would give the 7th-ranked Judges a 1-0 win. From 20 yards out with no clear passing targets, Hernandez saw an opening in the net and made the shot for his first collegiate goal in his fourth start. The crowd erupted for Hernandez as he turned, screaming with joy, toward his family in the stands, while his teammates rushed to congratulate him. The Judges held on as Bridgewater State prepared an attack late, forcing a corner kick in the 88th minute, but could not score to even the game with the Judges.
Brandeis’ Ben Woodhouse ’18 in his first start as goalkeeper had three saves and earned his first collegiate win and shutout. Woodhouse was in for the whole game while Bridgewater State made seven attempts to score.
For head coach Mike Coven, who is in his 43rd season, this win was No. 496. Coven is hoping to become the sixth Division III coach and 11th overall in NCAA history with 500 career wins. He is the second longest tenured active coach in collegiate soccer behind Tony Tocca of DII Rockford University.
Don’t miss out on the men’s soccer season, as it is sure to be exciting. The Judges will be in Texas this weekend when they take on Hardin-Simmons Friday Sept., 4 and number 6-ranked Trinity University on Saturday. You can check out the live stats online to keep up with the games this weekend. The Judges will be home against Nichols, Tuesday, Sept. 8 at 4 p.m.