Men’s Soccer Falls in NCAAs
The Tufts men’s soccer team fell to the Brandeis University Judges in the NCAA Division III Elite Eight, 1-0, at Bello Field in a double overtime game on November 19.
In the 109th minute with penalty kicks looming, the Judges (17-4-0) played a long ball to the top of the box. Jumbo goalie Conner Mieth came out to make a play on it, but in the challenge for the ball it bounced out to Brandeis senior Patrick Flahive. With the goal open, Flahive got a shot off from 30 yards out, which found its way into the back of the net.
The loss followed its second tournament game in a row won on penalty kicks against Johns Hopkins the previous day, in the Sweet Sixteen round.
Both Tufts and Brandeis played hard all game, with the shots in favor of Tufts, 17-12. They were even on corner kicks, each with five. And both goalies played extremely well, Mieth making a season-high six saves and Ben Woodhouse of Brandeis making seven.
Both sides had multiple chances throughout the game before the eventual game-winner. In the 11th minute Jumbo Zach Lane was fouled just outside the box at dead center field. Travis Van Brewer took the free kick that ended up being blocked by Brandeis’ wall. Sterling Weatherbie was able to get a second shot off of the rebound, but it went high.
In the 57th minute, the Judges’ Josh Ocel was fouled in almost the identical spot as Lane in the first half. He took the free kick and it was again blocked by the wall.
In the 77th minute, Tufts’ Derek Enge fed a nice ball into the box to Alex Ratzan, but a diving Brandeis defender kicked it back for a corner.
Noah Gans sent a dangerous looking cross into the box for Brandeis in the 79th minute that might have found a Judge if it wasn’t for Tanner Jameson, who was in the perfect spot to head the ball away.
Then in the 82nd minute Brett Rojas went on a break-away down the left side of the field for Tufts, but Woodhouse came out just in time to force the ball left of the goal.
With about seven minutes left in the final overtime period, multiple yellows turned into a red for the Jumbos, helping create the extra space that Brandeis eventually used to score the game-winning goal.
The loss puts a wrap on Tufts season. The Jumbos finish the year at 15-2-4, having only allowed two goals all year long. They won the NESCAC championship for the first time in their history, received a first-round bye in the NCAA tournament and hosted the NCAA regional and sectional rounds at Bello Field.
Curtis Stoychoff is an intern in Athletic Communications.