Men’s soccer earns three NSCAA honors

WALTHAM, Mass. – The Brandeis University men's soccer team has earned three honors from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America. Individually, senior back Ben Applefield of Avon, Conn., and senior forward Sam Ocel of North Attleboro, Mass., were named first-team All-New England South Region. As a team, the Judges were recognized for their off-the-field accomplishments with the NSCAA Team Academic Award.

Applefield led the University Athletic Association with 10 assists this season, finishing with the fourth-highest point total on the Judges despite playing left back. He also assisted the team's lone goal in an NCAA Tournament second-round win over Roger Williams on November 17. The senior had two goals on the campaign, including the game-winner in a 4-0 win at Case Western Reserve University on Oct. 5. Applefield also earned Eastern College Athletic Conference All-New England second-team honors.

Ocel earned his third career All-New England honor, a year after claiming All-America honors. After taking a semester off last spring in order to use his final season of eligibility, Ocel returned to play more of a defensive role for the Judges in 2013. He finished with three goals and four assists on the campaign. He finished with 26 goals and 23 assists in his career, leaving him 12th all-time on the Brandeis career scoring list.

In addition to the NSCAA individual awards, the two Judges, along with classmate Kyle Feather of Pinebrook, N.J., played in the 2013 New England Intercollegiate Soccer League Division III Senior All-Star Game on Sunday, December 5. Feather scored the opening goal of the match on an assist by Applefield. The squad featuring the Brandeis players won the match, 8-2.

As a team, Brandeis earned the NSCAA's All-Academic award for the fourth year in a row after compiling a team grade-point average of 3.27. The Judges had nine team members selected to the 2013 UAA All-Academic squad with GPAs higher than 3.30. Along with the Brandeis women, the Judges were one of 190 schools in Division I, II or III that had both squads earn the NSCAA Team Academic Award.

In head coach Mike Coven's 41st season on the sidelines, the Brandeis men posted a 16-5-1 record in 2013. The Judges advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Division III men's soccer tournament for the second year in a row. Brandeis hosted the first two rounds of the tournament and defeated Johnson and Wales University, 3-0, and Roger Williams University, 1-0, before falling to eventual Final Four team Williams, 2-0, in the sectional round. The Judges finished the season ranked No. 15 in the nation by the final NSCAA Division III poll and No. 18 by D3soccer.com.

Applefield is a 2010 graduate of Avon High School. He is the son of Dean and Deb Applefield, Avon, Conn.

Ocel is a 2009 graduate of No. Attleboro High School. He is the son of Jeffrey and Pamela Ocel, No. Attleboro, Mass.