#5 Brandeis men survive #13 Amherst in PKs, 6-5, after scoreless draw.
ONEONTA, N.Y. (Courtesy Oneonta State sports information) -- For 110 minutes and into dusk, the Brandeis University men's soccer team battled Amherst College for the opportunity to play for a trip to Kansas City. In the end, Brandeis advanced, 6-5, in a shootout after the two squads completed a scoreless draw in the NCAA Division III Men's Soccer tournament sectional semifinals in Oneonta, N.Y.
Brandeis (19-2-1), who advanced to the Elite Eight for the first time in their current run of three straight Sweet 16 appearances, will play sectional host SUNY Oneonta (20-0-2) tomorrow at 1pm for a trip to the national championship weekend in Kansas City, Mo., which will take place on Dec. 5-6. If the Judges win tomorrow it will be the first time back at the Final Four since 1984.
"We're a little beat up, but what a great soccer game," said Brandeis coach Mike Coven, who is in his 42nd season at the helm. "I tip my hat to Amherst. They are a terrific team. Our boys never quit today."
Despite its 17-12 advantage in shots, Amherst (14-1-6) could not put one of them to the back of the goal. The Lord Jeffs nearly ended the game twice with back-to-back opportunities in the second overtime that hit the post.
Both keepers were up to the task for 110 minutes. Senior Joe Graffy (Concord, N.H./Concord) of Brandeis finished the game with a season-high eight saves while Thomas Bull of Amherst recorded seven saves. Graffy came up with a diving stop in the fourth round during the shootout to keep his squad alive. His 15th shutout established a new school single-season record, while extending the team's record of 17 on the campaign.
After senior Tyler Savonen (Orleans, Mass./Nauset Regional) missed the opening kick for Brandeis in the shootout, Amherst converted three straight and led 3-2 before junior back Conor Lanahan (Avon, Conn./Avon) tied it at three apiece. After Graffy's save, senior Robbie Lynch (Weymouth, Mass./Weymouth) converted to put the Judges up 4-3. Milton Rico converted for Amherst to send the shootout to sudden victory kicks.
The match ended when Christopher Martin's kick went wide left for Amherst in the seventh round.
Coach Coven commented on tomorrow's game with Oneonta, "I hope I have 11 healthy bodies to field a squad. Oneonta is a terrific team and they will be rested." It will be the first-ever meeting between the Judges and Red Dragons. The teams have two common opponents this season, Babson and Rochester. Brandeis defeated Babson,1-0, and fell to Rochester, 2-1, for one of their two losses on the season. Oneonta State topped the Beavers, 4-0, but also suffered one of their only two blemishes of the season against the Yellowjackets, a 0-0 draw.