After a solid start to the season, the Brandeis men’s soccer team played a tough stretch of games to end the month of September. Their first game was against Wesleyan University on Sept. 17. Wesleyan was having a very good 3-0 start to the season, so it was set to be a tough matchup for Brandeis.
The Judges had the first shot of the game in the second minute. Freshman forward Elan Romo ’26 had a shot on target, but it was saved by the Wesleyan goalie. A few minutes later, they were back on the attack with two corner kicks from freshman midfielder Rainer Osselmann-Chai ’26 and a shot from senior forward Sancho Maroto Tobias ’23, however his shot sailed high. Wesleyan proceeded to flip the script as they started pushing their offense. They had a few shots on target, but senior goalie Aiden Guthro ’23 made sure that none would go into the net. Guthro was doing everything he could to start the game, as he played phenomenally to stop the potent Wesleyan offense. However, something had to give, and eventually Wesleyan scored a goal to take the lead in the 34th minute off of a corner kick. The first half ended with Brandeis being behind 0-1. Wesleyan was dominating on offense even though they were only winning by one goal. The Judges only had one shot on target in the first half of the game. It was clear Brandeis needed to get their offense going early in the second half to get some momentum on their side. However, Wesleyan made sure that they had control over the game. Wesleyan had two shots within the first two minutes of the second half. Guthro, continuing to have a great game, saved both of them. Freshman midfielder Nico Beninda ’26 had Brandeis’ first shot of the second half, but it was saved. Junior forward Max Horowitz ’24 followed with their first shot on target since the second minute of the game, however it was saved by the Wesleyan goalie. Wesleyan continued to pour on the shots, and finally got their second goal in the 60th minute. The Judges still could not get anything going offensively, as Wesleyan sealed the win in the 77th minute with their third goal of the game. Neither team would score for the rest of the game, making the score 3-0 in favor of Wesleyan.
Wesleyan had 27 shots in the game, including 16 in the second half. Brandeis on the other hand could only get 10 shots off, but seven of them were on target. Even though Wesleyan had significantly more shots than Brandeis, they only had eight corner kicks compared to Brandeis’ five. Guthro had an incredible game. Even though he let in three goals, he had 14 saves. This tied his previous career high he had last year against Emory University. Maroto Tobias led the team in shots with four, as two of them were on target.
After the tough loss, the Judges looked to bounce back in an away game against Wheaton College on Sept. 21. The two teams last faced off in a game in 2019 that ended in a 0-0 tie. This year, the game was the complete opposite. Maroto Tobias got an early shot, but it sailed wide right. Wheaton countered with two shots of their own, but they were stopped by the Judges’ defense and Guthro. The two teams traded shots early, before Brandeis got the first goal of the game in the 13th minute. Osselmann-Chai sent a corner kick into the box where senior back Forrest Shimazu ’23 had a shot that deflected off the post. Horowitz took advantage of the rebound and put the ball into the net to give the Judges the lead. Osselmann-Chai was awarded his fourth assist of the season and Shimazu was given his first assist of the season and career. This was Horowitz’s second goal of the season and fourth of his career. It didn’t take long for Brandeis to add onto their advantage, as Beninda scored a goal in the 15th minute to give the Judges a 2-0 lead. This was Beninda’s second goal of the season and the second of his career. Wheaton quickly answered with a goal of their own in the 19th minute to cut their deficit to 1-2. After playing two halves and two overtimes in their last matchup without a goal, these two teams combined for three goals in under 20 minutes.
The rest of the first half had less action. Each team had a few shots, but nothing went in. Wheaton outshot Brandeis 10-6 in the first half, but only two of those shots were on target. Brandeis had an early scoring opportunity to start the second half off of an Osselmann-Chai corner kick, but a shot from Beninda was blocked. In the 49th minute, Wheaton threatened to tie the game, but Guthro had two big saves to conserve the lead. The Judges’ defense played well in the second half as they didn’t allow Wheaton to tie the game. Brandeis ended up winning their rematch 2-1, after all the goals were scored in the first 20 minutes.
Wheaton ended up outshooting Brandeis 18-11, however Guthro was great throughout the game as he had eight saves. Five of those eight saves came in the second half. The two teams were even in corner kicks with five. Beninda’s goal was his first game-winning and unassisted goal of his career. Horowitz led the team in shots with three, with two of them being on target.
Three days later, the Judges had their first home game in two weeks. They faced Eastern Nazarene College (ENC) on a Saturday afternoon in their first game since 1997. The game took a surprising turn in just the first minute, as the ENC starting goalie was injured following a corner kick from Osselmann-Chai. A few minutes later, the backup goalie made a great diving save on the Judges first shot of the game from Maroto Tobias. The Judges got plenty of shots off in the first half, including a header from sophomore back Andres Gonzalez ’25 in the 37th minute. However, every shot on target was saved. ENC didn’t even get a shot on target in the first half.
At the end of the first half, the game was tied 0-0. Brandeis was clearly dominating on offense, with 12 shots compared to ENC’s two, however nothing was going into the net. It seemed like something had to fall for the Judges at some point soon. Even though ENC had very limited offense in the first half, it took them just 23 seconds to score the go-ahead goal. All of the sudden, after Brandeis clearly dominated on offense in the first half, they were behind. Beninda and Maroto Tobias quickly responded with a shot of their own, but they were saved. The Judges kept the pressure on with hopes of quickly tying the game. Finally, in the 57th minute they broke through after a cross from Horowitz came from the left side of the field and found Gonzalez. Gonzalez took the opportunity and buried the ball into the net for his first goal of the season. The assist from Horowitz was his second of the season. Brandeis had a chance to take the lead in the 80th minute after a cross from Osselmann-Chai and a header from Gonzalez, but the ENC defense held strong. ENC also nearly took the lead in the 82nd minute but their shot hit the post. The Judges’ final opportunity to win the game came in the 87th minute from another cross by Osselmann-Chai, but Maroto Tobias’ header went wide right. ENC got two shots off in the 89th minute but neither were on target. The final score of the game was 1-1.
Brandeis clearly dominated on offense in the first half as they outshot ENC 12-2. However, in the second half the shooting was a lot more even as Brandeis had another 12 shots, but ENC also had nine. The Judges had more corner kicks with nine compared to ENC’s three. Gonzalez’s tying goal was the second goal of his career. Guthro and senior goalie Max Blacker ’23 split time in goal, and neither one of them made a save as ENC only had one shot on target. The all-time series between these two teams continues to favor Brandeis, as they are now overall 2-0-1 against them.
In the team’s last game before University Athletic Association (UAA) games are played, they faced Clark University for an away game on Sept. 27. Last year, the Judges narrowly beat Clark with a go-ahead goal in the 48th minute to break a 1-1 tie. To start the game off this year, the Judges put pressure on the Clark goalie early. Beninda and Maroto Tobias both had early shots on goals that were saved by the Clark goalie. The two teams traded shots, but both goalies played very well in the first half to keep the game scoreless. At half time Clark was outshooting Brandeis 11-9, however seven of Brandeis’ shots were on target compared to Clark’s four. Although there was a lot of early offense, neither team could find the net as the game was tied 0-0 at half time. The Judges finally broke through in the 53rd minute after Clark could not clear a shot attempt from Gonzalez. The ball ended up in front of Maroto Tobias and he proceeded to score the first goal of the game. This was Maroto Tobias’ third goal of the season and Gonzalez’s first assist of the season and of his career. Clark tried to answer, but instead they ended up conceding another goal to the Judges. In the 62nd minute, Osselmann-Chai took advantage of a Clark turnover and took a shot from 20 yards out. The ball was deflected by the Clark goalie, but still went into the goal. This was Osselmann-Chai’s first goal of the season and of his career. The Brandeis defense held strong for the rest of the game, as they limited Clark to just two shots for the remaining 28 minutes, as the final score was 2-0.
Although the Judges were outshot in the first half, overall, they outshot Clark 20-14 with a dominant second half performance as they allowed Clark to just take three shots. Maroto Tobias led the Judges in shots with seven, with four of them being on target. His game-winning goal put him in first place on the team for goals scored with three. Although Osselmann-Chai’s goal was just his first of the season, he is now in second place on the team in points as he has four assists this season. Guthro had another strong game with five saves and a shutout. It was his third shutout of the season and ninth of his career. The Judges’ record now sits at 4-2-2.
In their first UAA game of the season, the Judges will travel to Case Western Reserve University for a game on Oct. 1. Last year Brandeis lost the matchup 0-2 in a tough-fought home game.