After a 10-day rest period, the men’s soccer team rolled over Lasell College with a 1-0 win on Tuesday night, Oct. 27. The Judges are now ranked No. 7 in Division III on D3Soccer.com and No. 12 in the NCSAA with a record of 13-2-1.
Both teams started off strong on the field in an aggressive battle. Midfield became the battleground as both teams fought for possession of the ball. However, the faster transition and wing penetration from the Judges afforded them more opportunities as the team took nine shots compared to only one from Lasell. The solid defense from guard Conor Lanahan ’16 came into play, as the defense seemed to create a wall that effectively prevented Lasell’s offense. However, the offense couldn’t get it done for the Judges as the first half ended with a 0-0 stalemate. The lack of offense partially came from the coach’s decision to hold back the Judges’ full strength for the first 45 minutes as some of the starting lineup didn’t see the field.
“I definitely think Coven was giving the starters more rest than normal. Jake Picard ’16, myself and Christian Hernandez ’18, who have started every game at center mid leading up to this point, did not play,” said Josh Ocel ’17, the midfielder who was named UAA Athlete of the Week earlier this month.
Desperate to claim this victory, Coach Mike Coven put some of his starters back in the game. The ruthless physical pressure gave the Judges full control over the field ,and the play was compressed onto Lasell’s half of the field. Forward Zach Vieira ’17 furiously outran everybody in a counterattack and bumped his way through multiple defenders from time to time. His effort almost paid off at 53 minutes with a shot that barely missed the mark and hit the bar.
“Every game this season we have been very physical. I think it is one of our team’s strengths and the main reason we have had such a successful year. We are a very defensively minded team and with that comes physicality,” said Ocel. The midfielder also made a huge impact with his handling and passing skills, which boosted the team’s ball transition to another level. Ocel also took over the job of free kicks and corner kicks. The fierce play finally paid off for the Judges at in the 73rd minute as forward Chris Bradley ’16 surprised the opposing goalkeeper with an explosive shot to the goal. It was his third goal of the season, which ties him with Jake Picard ’16 for most goals. Despite valiant efforts, Lasell failed to gain back the control of the ball under the defensive pressure from the Judges.
Ocel, however, wasn’t totally satisfied with the win. “The team was disappointed with our performance, and we look to play and score more goals going forward,” he said. In fact, 12 of the Judge’s games this season have resulted in only one goal from the Brandeis offense. “We create great opportunities but we have to be more clinical in the final third. We have made every game, no matter who we face, a battle, and it is time to start making it easy on ourselves and start scoring some goals,” said Ocel.
On Friday, Oct. 30, the team will be facing Emory University in Atlanta and then they will continue to Rochester University to battle the Yellow Jackets on Sunday, Nov. 1. The Judges have yet to defeat Emory on their turf, but Ocel believes the team is up to the challenge.
“I expect to change history this weekend. I expect our team to beat Emory for the first time in Atlanta. I really hope our team can win both games and put ourselves in a great position heading into our game against NYU to win the UAA for the first time ever,” he said.