November 17, 2013

Still dancin': Men's soccer advances to Sweet 16 with 1-0 win over Roger Williams

WALTHAM, Mass. — The Brandeis University men's soccer team controlled play tonight as the Judges advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Division III Tournament with a 1-0 win over Roger Williams University on Gordon Field. With the win, Brandeis improves to 16-4-1 and advances to the sectional round for the second-straight year. Roger Williams closes its campaign at 16-6-2.

The game's only goal came in the 25th minute. The play started with a ball played out wide by senior midfielder Sam Ocel (North Attleboro, Mass./North Attleboro). It was tracked down by senior back Ben Applefield (Avon, Conn./Avon), who dribbled down the left side and fired a cross through the box. A wide open Tyler Savonen (Orleans, Mass./Nauset Regional) planted his head on it and buried his team-leading 12th goal of the season. It proved to be the junior's fourth game-winner and marked his fourth-straight game with a goal.

Brandeis dominated the statistics, outshooting the Hawks by a 20-4 margin overall, 10-2 in each half. The Judges were able to keep RWU senior Trevor Hoxsie (Scarborough, Maine/Scarborough) to one shot, taken early in the contest. Judge junior Joe Graffy (Concord, N.H./Concord) made the stop, and Brandeis was able to keep the threats to a minimum.

"We defended really well," said Brandeis head coach Mike Coven, in his 41st season. "Hoxsie is one of the top forwards in New England, and we were able to shut him down."

RWU senior Jon Pelloso (Wilbraham, Mass./Minnechaug) made four saves in the losing effort, with his best coming in the 56th minute. Applefield dribbled into the box, forcing Pelloso to commit before feeding junior Michael Soboff (Framingham, Mass./Newton South), but the Hawk netminder was able to get back to turn the ball away.

Graffy's best stop came in the 73rd minute, when Roger Williams junior James Sheldon (Fairfield, Conn./Fairfield Ward) stepped in front of a weak back-pass. He shot high, but Graffy snatched the ball out of the air and prevented any rebounds.

The Judges also got a fine defensive play in the final five minutes, when sophomore back Conor Lanahan (Avon, Conn./Avon) ran with a charging James Sheldon (Amherst, N.H./Souhegan). Lanahan deflected the ball off Sheldon for a goal kick, stopping the visitors' momentum as they pushed forward for an equalizing goal.

In advancing to the third round of the tournament for the second-straight year, Brandeis will earn a rematch with Williams College, who earned a 1-0 victory over the Judges in 2012. The Ephs defeated Western New England University, 4-1. 

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