Opening rounds return to Waltham! Judges host WestConn, Rutgers Newark and Bowdoin

Patrick Flahive '18, center, with Christian Hernandez '18, left (photo by Norman Cohen)
Patrick Flahive '18, center, with Christian Hernandez '18, left (photo by Norman Cohen)

WALTHAM, Mass. – For the fourth-straight season, the Brandeis University men's and women's soccer teams will be playing in the NCAA Division III tournament. Both Judges squads received at-large berths in the tournament as they look to make return appearances in the Final Four.

The Brandeis women (11-4-4) learned their fate first today, as they were chosen to travel to Williamstown, Massachusetts, where they will meet Stevens Institute of Technology (11-4-3) in the opening round on November 11. The Judges and Ducks will meet at 1:30 p.m.

Next up, the Brandeis men (13-4) learned they will host the opening weekend for the fifth time in the past six seasons when they take on Western Connecticut State University (14-6-1) in the opening round on Gordon Field, also on November 11. Kick-off is set for 5 p.m.

Men's Waltham Regional HQ

Tickets are $6, $3 for senior citizens and students, $2 for children between the ages of 3 and 12. Brandeis students will be admitted for free with a student ID. 

The Brandeis men (13-4) hosted first- and second-round regionals from 2012 through 2015 before being sent on the road to open the tournament last season. The No. 3 team in the final NCAA New England Regional rankings, the Judges were granted an opportunity to return home.

Brandeis was ranked 4th nationally in Division III in the preseason coming off their Final Four run. The Judges were ranked as high as 12th in the nation during the regular season before earning a No. 21 ranking entering the Big Dance.

Brandeis went 13-4 overall this season, including 5-2 in the University Athletic Association, good for second place. All four of the Judges defeats came at the hands of NCAA tournament teams, and they have wins over three others. The Judges are making their 15th all-time tournament appearance, but the first under head coach Gabe Margolis, who succeeded long-time coach Michael Coven this year after 11 years as an assistant/associate head coach with the Judges.

Western Connecticut is making its first NCAA tournament bid under current head coach Joe Minchagos and their ninth overall, but first since 2005. Minchagos is no stranger to leading a Colonial team to the Big Dance, having guided the women's program 11 times, including the 2007 Final Four, before taking over the men's reins two seasons ago. WCSU finished 14-6-1 and captured the Little East Tournament title this past weekend.

The Judges and Colonials have never met on the pitch. Their lone common opponent this season was Elms College, whom both teams defeated handily (6-0 for Brandeis, 7-1 for WCSU).

The other game at Brandeis will feature No. 14 Rutgers-Newark (20-2) taking on Bowdoin College (10-4-3) at 7:30 p.m. with the winners meeting on Sunday, November 12 at 7 p.m.