The Brandeis men’s soccer team opened their bid for an NCAA title with a 3-0 victory over Western Connecticut State in the Round of 64 this past Saturday, Nov. 11. For the Judges, the game was led by the senior class, with Mike Lynch ’18 scoring the opening goal of the game, and goalie Ben Woodhouse ’18 making his much-anticipated return to the field. Goals by Dylan Hennessy ’20 in the 65th minute and Andrew Allen ’19 in the 72nd minute secured the victory for the Judges.
Lynch scored the first goal of the game in the 15th minute off a pass from Patrick Flahive ’18. As a team, the Judges outshot their opponents 10-3 to boast a halftime lead. In the second half, Hennessy knocked in a 65th-minute goal off a pass from captain Josh Ocel ’18. Eight minutes later, the Judges assured their victory after rookie Noah Gans ’21 fed a pass to Allen who pushed the lead to 3-0.
The Judges dominated offensively, outshooting their opponents 15 to nine, with six goals on target compared to their opponent’s two. Western Connecticut State’s offense stagnated as Woodhouse made his return to the goal. The veteran goalie saved two balls and secured his 10th victory and fourth shut-out of the season.
Following their victory on Saturday, the Judges won a thriller against Rutgers-Newark in the Round of 32 with a score of 1-0 to move on to the second week of play in the NCAA tournament for the sixth straight year.
Lynch shined once again for the Judges, scoring the lone goal of the game in the 67th minute.
Woodhouse made several spectacular saves to secure the shutout, including saving a 54th-minute penalty kick. After 53 minutes of hard-fought play, Rutgers-Newark was awarded a penalty kick in the 54th-minute. Fabio De Sousa ’20, Rutgers-Newark’s leading scorer, took his perfect four-out-of-four record on penalty kicks into the duel against Woodhouse, who perfectly read the shot and made a spectacular diving save to his left. The save triggered the Judge’s offense as they shot five of the next six shots, inducing a 67th-minute goal from Lynch.
Following a corner from Ocel, Lynch emerged with the ball following hectic play by the goal and punched in his sixth goal of the season. Lynch’s goal culminated an aggressively played game from both sides: the Judges out-shot Rutgers-Newark 21 to 18 and the game featured a total of 28 fouls.
With the victory, the Judges secured a Sweet 16 matchup against Drew University on Saturday, Nov. 18, to be played at Tufts University. The Judges defeated Drew University last year 4-2 in the Elite Eight during the 2016 NCAA tournament.