November 23, 2013

Early goal dooms men's soccer, as Judges fall, 2-0, in Sweet 16 action

AMHERST, Mass. – It was déja vu for the Brandeis University men's soccer team, as the Judges fell to the Williams College Ephs in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament for the second-consecutive season. Brandeis conceded an early goal and could not rally, falling, 2-0, on Saturday in a match played at Amherst College. The Judges end their season at 16-5-1. Williams will take on Amherst in the Elite 8 tomorrow afternoon.

The Ephs got on the board on the first shot of the game. The Judges failed to clear a fourth-minute corner kick, allowing Williams junior Chris Condor (London, England/St. Paul's School) to play the ball back in to the box from the right flank. With the wind swirling, the ball somehow sailed over the head of Brandeis junior Joe Graffy (Concord, N.H./Concord) and into the upper-left corner of the net for Condor's first goal of the season. Senior Matt Kastner (Mendham, N.J./Delbarton) picked up the assist.

Senior Sam Ocel (No. Attleboro, Mass./No. Attleboro) nearly had the equalizer in the 13th minute. The converted midfielder turned nicely at the top of the Williams box and sent a rocket towards the top-corner of the net, but senior keeper Peter Morrell (Brunswick, Maine/Brunswick) brilliantly touched the ball onto the bar and out for a corner kick. The teams traded shots for the rest of the half, but neither side troubled the keepers.

Williams outshot Brandeis 14-6 in the second half, but it was the Judges who had the majority of the possession and the best chances. Senior Tudor Livadaru (Bronx, N.Y./Riverdale-Kingsbridge Acad.) found junior Michael Soboff (Framingham, Mass./Newton South) in the 6-yard box in the 55th minute, but Soboff's effort to redirect the ball went just wide. Rookie Zach Viera (Andover, Mass./Brooks School) had a free header in the box in the 82nd minute, but the forward was unable to keep his effort on target.

With Brandeis playing just three defenders and with the midfield high up the pitch in search of an equalizer, the Ephs would make the Judges pay for failing to convert. Junior Matt Muralles (Weston, Fla./American Heritage) found sophomore Rashid Mohammed (Accra, Ghana/The Hotchkiss School), who tucked the ball in off the post for an all-important insurance goal.

Williams outshot Brandeis 19-10, as Graffy made a career-high nine saves in the loss. Morrell had five stops for the Ephs.