Men's soccer to defend ECAC title as top seed

Photo by Sportspix
Photo by Sportspix
WALTHAM, Mass. – The Brandeis University men's soccer team has earned the top seed in the 2011 Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Division III New England championship tournament. The Judges, who are the defending ECAC Div. III New England champions, finished the regular season with a record of 12-5-1 and will play host to eighth-seeded Southern Vermont College, who were also 12-5-1, in the quarterfinals on Wednesday evening at 7 p.m.

In head coach Mike Coven's 39th season at the helm, Brandeis had its best regular season since 2000 with their 12 wins, 10 of which came via shutout. The Judges posted a 3-3-1 record in the University Athletic Association, tying for fourth place, their highest conference finish since 2002. Brandeis features a balanced offensive attack with five different players scoring at least five goals this season. Junior Sam Ocel (North Attleboro, Mass./No. Attleboro) leads the squad with six goals and six assists for 18 points, while rookie Tyler Savonen (Orleans, Mass./Nauset Regional) is just behind with six goals and five assists for 17 points. Junior goalkeeper Blake Minchoff (Fiskdale, Mass./Tantasqua Regional) leads the UAA with 10 shutouts – tying the school single-season record – as well as in saves (66), save percentage (.857). He is also ranks second in goals against average (0.59).

Southern Vermont, under fourth-year head coach Tim Penrod, won the New England Collegiate Conference regular season with a 6-0-1 record before getting upset in the conference tournament finals. The Mountaineers are led by senior forward Nick Haggerty, with 16 goals, second in the NECC, and sophomore forward Pierre Massena, who has 10 goals and four assists for 24 points.

This will be the first ever meeting between Brandeis and Southern Vermont. The squads have one common opponent this season, Wheaton (Mass.) College. Brandeis defeated the Lyons on Oct. 5, 2-0, on the road. SVC fell to the Lyons early in the season, 7-0, on their home turf.

Wednesday's additional quarterfinals pit second-seeded Albertus Magnus (15-3-1) against No. 7 Endicott (8-8-3); No. 3 Castleton State (12-6-2) against No. 6 Worcester State (8-8-2); and No. 4 UMass Boston (11-5) against No. 5 Norwich (11-9). The highest remaining seed will host the final four teams on Nov. 12 and 13. If Brandeis hosts, the semifinals will be played Saturday at noon and 2:30 p.m., with the final at noon on Sunday.

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