AMHERST, Mass. – For the fourth time in program history and first since 1984, the Brandeis University men's soccer team is headed to the Final Four of the NCAA Division III Tournament. The Judges defeated Rutgers-Newark, 4-2, in the quarterfinals to reach the national semifinals, which will be held December 3 in Salem, Virginia. Brandeis improves to 13-5-4 on the season and will meet Calvin (Michigan) on Friday, December 2, in the next round. Rutgers-Newark's season comes to a close at 21-4.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- The Judges opened the scoring thanks to senior substitute Mike Lynch (Weymouth, Mass./Weymouth) who tallied twice in a span of 59 seconds, just two minutes after coming off the bench.
- At 22:41, he pounced on a rebound of a shot by classmate Evan Jastremski (Marshfield, Mass./Marshfield)
- At 23:40, it was senior Josh Ocel (North Attleboro, Mass./Worcester Acad.) who put a ball in the mix for Lynch to clean up. The goals were Lynch's second and third of the NCAA Tournament.
- The Judges looked to carry the two-goal advantage into the half, but Rutgers-Newark's Alex Torres connected on a goal less than five minutes before the break on an assist from Timothy Farias to make it a 2-1 Brandeis lead.
- Brandeis used another pair of quick strikes to push their advantage in the second half.
- At 66:10, Ocel took a free kick from just inside the Scarlet Raiders' half of the field. He found a streaking Josh Handler (Oakdale, Conn./Montville), who connected for his first of the season and second of the career.
- At 68:04, Ocel tickled the back of the net himself, poking home Brandon Miskin's (Needham, Mass./Worcester Academy) feed to score his sixth goal of the season and record his second four-point game of the campaign.
- Rutgers Newark tacked on a penalty kick goal with just under 10 minutes left in regulation to cut into the lead, but it was too little too late as the Judges hung on for the win.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
- Brandeis controlled play, outshooting RUN 14-7 for the game and earning 7 corners to 4 for the Scarlet Raiders.
- Junior Ben Woodhouse (Suffield, Conn./Suffield) made three saves for the game, while Rutgers-Newark's Andres Medina had five stops.
- Ocel now has 15 assists for the season, one shy of the school single-season record set by Tibor Kobolak in 1986.
- Ocel also moved into second on the career assists list with his 33rd and 34th. He passed Jeff Steinberg '87 for second place and sits 10 behind Rob Muller '77.
BRANDEIS IN THE FINAL FOUR
- Head coach Michael Coven is in his 44th season with the Judges and heads to his fourth Final Four.
- He guided the 1976 team to the school's first-ever national championship 40 years ago, with a 2-1 overtime victory against Brockport State. The game-winning goal in that contest was scored by Cleveland Lewis '78, the brother of Olympian Carl Lewis.
- In 1981, Brandeis finished in third place with a 4-2 win over Ohio Wesleyan, the last time a third-place match was held.
- In 1984, the Judges met Wheaton (Illinois) on their home turf and lost, 2-1, in double overtime in the title match to finish second.
- The Brandeis women also reached the Final Four with a dramatic 4-3 overtime win against William Smith College on their home turf in Waltham. This marks the first time a Brandeis women's team has reached the Final Four in a team sport.