The men’s club soccer team bounced-back this past week, seizing victory in two of its three match-ups. Though the team was unable to hold on to a late lead against top-ranked University of Chicago on Friday, their strong play in the double-overtime loss provides some encouragement moving forward. The squad may finally be finding its footing as its schedule is set to ease up and its focus grows increasingly fixated on capturing that elusive National Collegiate Athletic Association tournament berth.

Judges 2, WashU 1

The Judges rounded off the week with a matchup against nationally ranked Washington University in St. Louis. After falling to several ranked opponents in what has proven to be one of the team’s toughest stretches in years, the Judges needed a victory against the Bears to get back on track and regain a sense of confidence.

Fortunately for Brandeis, the stars came out to play on Sunday. After the Bears started the scoring with a goal from freshman midfielder Jonathan Garske, the Judges found themselves playing catch-up until the second half. In a two-minute stretch of explosive offense, the squad was able to muster two goals to claim a lead they would refuse to relinquish. The Judges’ first goal came off of a rebound, as midfielder Josh Ocel ’17 slammed home a loose ball to put Brandeis on the board in the 58th minute. The game’s decisive goal came shortly after, when defenseman Sam Vinson ’18 made his way to the other side of the pitch to hammer home yet another loose ball in the Bears’ box, his goal coming in the 60th minute.

The remainder of the game was a battle, but the Bears were not able to reclaim the lead. The victory brings the Judges to 6-4-3 on the season. The loss drops the Bears to 8-2-1 on the year.

UChicago 2, Judges 1

The Judges hit the road this past weekend for a matchup against No. 1 ranked University of Chicago. The Judges were able to test the Maroons, holding a lead deep into regulation, but were ultimately unable to ward off the nation’s top overall team.

The Judges came out of the gates firing on Friday, getting on the board in the 25th minute off of a Thales Brito ’17 score, the first goal of his career. The Judges held their 1-0 lead until the end of the second half, when Maroons’ senior forward Brenton Desai buried the tying goal with just over fifteen minutes remaining in regulation.

The Judges and Maroons fought hard in the first overtime period, but neither team was able to convert the game-winning goal. In the second overtime, however, UChicago showed the Judges why it is deserving of the nation’s No. 1 overall ranking. Just 42 seconds into the second overtime period, Maroons’ freshman forward Dayo Adeosun was able to sneak the game-winner past Judges’ goalie Ben Woodhouse ’18. Though Woodhouse finished with four saves, he was unable to stop the shot that mattered most.

The loss dropped the Judges to 5-4-3 on the season. The victory brought the Maroons to 13-0 on the year.

Judges 1, Massachusetts Maritime Academy 0

The Judges kicked off the week with yet another double-overtime battle, the squad’s seventh such game of the season. After relatively underwhelming regulation play, the Judges needed the heroics of forward Patrick Flahive ’17 to break through shortly into the game’s second overtime period.

Junior goalie Mike Pruchnik had himself a day for Mass. Maritime, capturing a career-high 12 saves for the Buccaneers, but was unable to keep Flahive from converting the game’s clinching goal. Following a scramble in front of the Buccaneer’s net, Flahive found himself in a perfect position to head home an on-the-money pass from forward Evan Jastremski ’17. The goal came just 42 seconds into the game’s second overtime period and allowed the Judges to breathe a sigh of relief, as the squad could not afford to lose yet another double-overtime battle.

The victory brought the Judges to 5-3-3 on the season. The loss dropped Mass. Maritime to 6-5-1.

Looking ahead, the Judges will enjoy a quiet week, with its sole matchup coming against Clark University on Wednesday night at 7 p.m. The squad appears primed to prove that it was worthy of its high preseason ranking and hopes to get their act together before postseason hopes slip away.