In the second varsity contest ever played on Gordon Field, 60 years ago, the Judges defeated the Greyhounds. Two familiar names were on the sideline for the visitors. Teece's grandfather, Dave, was a guard for American International (a/k/a AIC), while Nick Rodis, who would go on to be Brandeis's athletic director from 1967 to 1984, was on the coaching staff.
Fast forward to the fall of 1976. The Brandeis men's soccer team was on a historic run to the University's first NCAA Division III championship, under the guidance of head coach Mike Coven – AIC Class of 1969. One of the players Coven was trying to attract to join the team was a three-sport star from Hampshire Regional High School – Dave Teece's son, Mark. On a visit to Brandeis, while the Teece's were sitting in coach Coven's office, Rodis walked by. Dave recognized his old freshman coach, who called Mark's father "the toughest 5-7, 160-pounder ever to play guard in college."
"My father told me that Nick mentored him through his early years at AIC," Mark recalled. "He had great respect for Nick." That respect – and the revelation that Dave Teece and Coven enrolled in the same fraternity – helped land the younger Teece at Brandeis.
A forward, Mark played for four years under Coven at Brandeis. Though two of those seasons were cut short due to injuries, Teece still enjoyed his Brandeis years to their fullest. "My experience at Brandeis introduced me to the people I still consider my best friends," Mark said.
Fast forward again, this time to the summer of 2005. Mark Teece, now living Arizona, has a son, Luke, a standout high school and club soccer player. Coven had remained close to Mark. He invited Luke's team to a tournament in the Boston area and gave them practice time on Brandeis's campus. Coven continued to follow Luke's career and eventually convinced him to join the Judges over other Boston-area schools, knowing that Luke would have an opportunity to play at Brandeis that might not be available at a bigger school.
"My dad had told me stories about Coven," Luke said. "But he was careful not to push me. It was entirely my decision to come to Brandeis, and it's definitely been the right one."
Luke has been a key part of the Judges' rotation at forward over his four-year career, spending time in and out of the starting lineup. In 2010, he earned All-University Athletic Association honors, scoring a career-best nine goals and two assists for 20 points in just 15 games. Luke missed the final two UAA contests and three ECAC postseason games due to a concussion. Despite having just two assists in 11 games off the bench this season, he is having his most rewarding season as the Judges are 11-5-1 and are ranked fifth in New England by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America.
"I feel as though we have gone from a collection of individuals [in his rookie year] to more of a team," Luke explained. "There's a lot of cohesion between the guys, on and off the field."
This Saturday, the Brandeis soccer teams wrap up their regular seasons against their University Athletic Association rivals from New York University for Senior Day. The Brandeis men (11-5-1, 2-3-1 UAA) take on the Violets (7-8-1, 2-4 UAA) at 12 p.m., while the Brandeis women (6-10-2, 0-5-1 UAA) follow them against the Violets (11-6, 2-4 UAA) at 2:30 p.m. If you can't make it to Gordon Field for the games, they will be available on LiveStats at http://livestats.prestosports.com/brandeisjudges, and on 100.1-FM, WBRS, which can be heard on-line at http://www.wbrs.org.
The Brandeis men enter Saturday's game ranked fifth in New England by the NSCAA and eighth in the NCAA Regional poll, which is the basis for NCAA tournament selection. The Judges are coming off a 1-1 weekend at Emory and Carnegie Mellon. Despite outshooting the Eagles, 22-10, Brandeis dropped a 1-0 decision in Atlanta on Oct. 28. They rallied two days later against CMU, as senior Theo Terris scored in the 75th minute to help force overtime, while junior Lee Russo’s free kick with just under four minutes left in the second overtime turned into a game-winning own-goal in a 2-1 victory. The Judges will be looking to avenge a 1-0 loss to NYU last season in New York, when the Violets scored in the 79th minute en route to the UAA crown. The Judges have already clinched their most regular season wins since 2002, while another victory would give them their best regular season since 2000.
The Brandeis women will look to close the 2011 season on a positive note. They won their last home contest, a 2-1 victory over Endicott College on Oct. 23, thanks to a goal in the first half by sophomore Hillary Andrews and the game-winner early in the second by senior Mimi Theodore. Unfortunately, the Judges have not scored since, playing 110 scoreless minutes against Lesley University the day after their win over Endicott, and dropping back-to-back UAA road games at Emory, 3-0, and Carnegie Mellon, 1-0. Against Emory, the Eagles scored early in the game, 35 seconds in, and added two more in the second half. They went on to clinch the conference title two days later with a 3-2 overtime win over NYU. Against CMU, the Judges survived a significant shot differential in the first half, but surrendered the game’s only goal in the 60th minute.