After a thrilling 2016 season that culminated in the squad’s first Final Four appearance in 32 years, the new-look Brandeis men’s soccer team hit the turf on Saturday to begin their journey back to the postseason. In their opening week of play, the club's first match under new head coach Gabe Margolis did not go as planned, as the preseason No. 4 came up short in their comeback bid against the State University of New York Cortland Red Dragons. The Judges, however, were able to bounce back on Sunday, as rising phenom midfielder Joshua Handler ’19 led the squad to what would prove to be Margolis’ first victory as a head coach for the team. 

Judges 2, Hobart 1

The Judges’ first victory of the season came in exciting fashion, as the squad battled the Hobart College Statesmen in a back-and-forth duel that culminated in a Handler golden goal in double overtime. After a scoreless first half, Hobart sophomore forward Kyle Patrick initiated the scoring in the 48th minute. After maneuvering his way into goalie Ben Woodhouse’s ’18 box, Patrick was able to dupe the respected keeper and bury an open-netted goal to give the Statesmen the lead. That lead did not last long, though, as Brandeis responded only three minutes later, when forward Jake Warren ’20 assisted rookie midfielder Noah Gans ’21 on his first career goal. After this brief, action-packed frenzy, both squads’ offenses dried up, with neither team able to net the decisive goal throughout regulation. 

The Statesmen had a solid opportunity to claim victory with 3:40 left in the first overtime, but Woodhouse’s characteristically heroic play kept the Judges hanging on by a thread. The Statesmen nearly struck gold again with 6:26 left in the second overtime, but Kyle Patrick’s shot attempt just narrowly bounced off of the crossbar. The Judges capitalized on the Statesmen’s inability to claim victory in the second overtime’s eighth minute, when forward Josh Ocel ’18 assisted Handler on the game’s golden goal. 

Woodhouse finished with a career-high-tying 10 saves. The victory brought the Judges to 1-1 on the season. The loss dropped Hobart to 0-2 on the year. 

Judges 2, SUNY Cortland 3

In their first action of the season, the Judges were unable to dig themselves out of an early hole against the SUNY Cortland Red Dragons. Despite a valiant comeback attempt, the squad ran out of gas by the match’s end, ultimately dropping their first game coached by someone other than Mike Coven in 44 years. 

The Red Dragons initiated scoring in the 27th minute, when junior forward Migell Ormsby netted the season’s first goal off of an assist from junior midfielder Jake Keller. The Judges hole only grew deeper from that point on, as the Red Dragons struck again in the 50th minute, with Keller showing his offensive versatility and burying a goal of his own. Adding insult to injury, the Red Dragons tacked on another goal in the 74th minute, when junior midfielder Michael Miner headed a cross from sophomore defenseman Garrett Sweeney into the back of the net. 

The Judges found new life just 16 seconds after Miner’s score, when forward Andrew Allen ’19 drilled a goal from the top of the box to put the Judges on the board. The squad followed that up with another strike in the 86th minute, when forward Patrick Flahive ’18 hit an open forward Mike Lynch ’18 for a beautifully assisted goal. Though Brandeis had one more shot attempt in the 88th minute, Cortland’s senior goalie Connor Young made an impressive, game-saving stop to keep the Judges from completing their exciting comeback effort.