MEDFORD, Mass. – For the third time this postseason, Brandeis University senior Mike Lynch (Weymouth, Mass./Weymouth) scored a game-winning goal, as he led the Judges into the Elite Eight of the NCAA Division III Men's Soccer Tournament for the second year in a row and the third time in four years with a 1-0 victory over Drew University (21-1-1), handing the Rangers their first defeat of the season.
With the win, the Judges improve to 16-4 on the season and advance to the Sectional Finals, where they will meet host and defending national champions Tufts tomorrow at 1 p.m.
The Judges controlled play against Drew in the first half, outshooting the Rangers, 8-6, and putting five of their eight shots on frame.
Early in the second half, Brandeis drew a pair of fouls on the Rangers, the second coming deep in the offensive end, near the left sideline. Senior Josh Ocel (North Attleboro, Mass./Worcester Academy) put the ball into the box, and Lynch headed it over a leaping Drew keeper Jason Adamo.
The goal was Lynch's seventh of the season and 12th of his career. He has scored all three game-winning goals for the Judges this postseason, and six of his 12 career scores have come in the last two NCAA tournaments. Four of those have been game-winners.
For Ocel, the assist was the 45th of his career, breaking the career record of Rob Muller '77, who was a member of the Judges' 1976 championship team. Ocel is Division III's career active leader.
Drew went on the offensive the rest of the way, getting off four shots the rest of the way, but Brandeis senior goalkeeper Ben Woodhouse (Suffield, Conn./Suffield) made two saves to post his third-straight clean sheet and the 22nd of his career. The win was the 38th of his career. He now ranks second in career shutouts and third in career wins.
With the win, the Judges will advance to the Sectional Final as they look to make a second-straight strip to Division III Final Four. Standing in their way is the defending national champions, Tufts, who advanced past Johns Hopkins on penalty kicks after a 0-0 draw today. The Jumbos defeated Brandeis, 1-0, earlier this season in Medford. Brandeis and Tufts have met 38 times over the years, with the Jumbos holding a 20-16-2 edge in the all-time series, but this will be the first postseason showdown between the two sides.