Times keep getting tougher for the men’s soccer team. After two straight crushing double-overtime losses against Babson College and Worcester Polytechnic Institute, respectively, the Judges were hoping to get back on track with a big win against longtime cross-town rival Tufts University. Unfortunately, the squad was unable to regain its footing at home, losing its third straight double-overtime contest and failing to net even a single goal. The team is falling fast after a strong start to the season, and its chances of postseason play appear to be slowly slipping away. 

Judges 0, Tufts 1

After defeating Tufts in the 2014 and 2015 seasons, it appeared the team had gained a leg up on its cross-town foes. However, the squad was yet again unable to generate offense and ultimately fell to the Jumbos, despite home-field advantage. 

As is characteristic of the Brandeis-Tufts matchup, the game was full of twists, turns and thrills, despite the relatively underwhelming 1-0 final. After a slow start to the match, the intensity picked up in the 36th minute, when Judges forward Evan Jastremski ’17 found himself with a solid opportunity following a cross from fellow forward Jake Warren ’20. Unfortunately for Jastremski, Jumbos senior defender Gaston Becherano was able to deflect the ball before it found the back of the net, narrowly avoiding what could have been a momentum-swinging goal. 

The 81st minute brought more excitement, when Judges defender Stephen DiPietto ’19 fired a rocket on goal from 10 yards out, only to have it first deflected by Jumbos senior keeper Scott Greenwood and then cleared by sophomore defender Sterling Wetherbie. 

Following a Judge’s turnover, Tufts embarked on an aggressive counterattack that nearly resulted in the game’s decisive goal. Reprising his role as hero, Judges keeper Ben Woodhouse ’18 was able to get one hand on freshman midfielder Brett Rojas’ shot attempt, just barely keeping it out of the net. 

Though playing in overtime is generally thrilling due to the inherently rare nature of battling for an extra period, the Judges have grown accustomed to extra play. That being said, the squad yet again failed to muster the final push they needed in order to finally snatch an overtime win on the season. 

In the first overtime session, DiPietto played a beautiful through ball to set forward Mike Lynch ’17 up for a breakaway and potential game-winner. Unfortunately, Greenwood came off the line to foil the Judges’ attack. The second overtime period proved relatively underwhelming until Tufts launched a decisive counterattack in the 109th minute that left the Judges crushed and deflated yet again. Jumbos freshman forward Joseph Braun dribbled down the left sideline, turning into the box to find a charging Woodhouse, at which point Braun crossed the ball to junior Christian Zazzali, who buried the game winner, his first goal of the regular season. 

The loss drops the Judges to 3-2-1 on the season. The victory brings the Jumbos to 3-2-1 on the year. 

The Judges have been plagued by offensive struggles for the last several seasons, and it appears their inability to score goals consistently is catching up to them quickly. This marks three consecutive games without a goal for the squad. Though their defense is their bread-and-butter weapon, they must find a way to net more goals moving forward or risk missing the National Collegiate Athletic Association tournament.

Looking ahead, the Judges host Wheaton College Tuesday at 7 p.m.