Brandeis soccer on winning trend thanks to talented quartet
The Brandeis men’s soccer team, just 6-10-2 last year, has experienced a turnaround this fall. The Judges won their first five matches, the program’s best start since 1985 and the longest winning streak in 10 years thanks to the contributions of four players from the area.
Head coach Mike Coven’s roster includes sophomore midfielder Joe Eisenbies of Hingham, the team’s second-leading scorer whose three goals have all been game-winners. And there are three players from Weymouth — senior goalkeeper Matt Lynch and junior defender Matt Hohmann, both graduates of Weymouth High, and junior defender David McCoy, who attended Catholic Memorial in West Roxbury.
“It’s the best group I’ve had here in a long time,’’ said Coven, a Duxbury resident who coached Eisenbies on the Plymouth-based Crusaders United U-18 Soccer Club and also watched Hohmann and Lynch come through the Crusaders program.
“I knew we had some talent coming into this season, but I wasn’t sure our improvement would happen so quickly.’’
One of the reasons for Brandeis’ resurgence was Coven’s decision to involve Eisenbies (one assist in 18 games last season) more in the attack.
“Joe was more of a provider of the ball last year, but we’ve pushed him up a bit this year to the point where he is a focal point of our offense,’’ said Coven, in his 38th season as the Judges’ head coach. “Now he’s both a passer and a finisher.’’
Eisenbies, an EMass. All-Star and two-time All-Patriot League selection who played on two league championship teams at Hingham High, said he’s been the beneficiary of some crisp passes in the box from his teammates.
“I had my chances last year, too, but I wasn’t finishing them off,’’ said Eisenbies. “And it was indicative of our season. We played well against some of the better teams on our schedule but lost some tough one-goal games. Now, we’re solid defensively and we’re scoring goals. Coach Coven has had a lot to do with my development. He got me ready for the college game and I’m enjoying my role.’’
The Judges had allowed just one goal entering Thursday’s game against visiting Newbury College. In the back, they are well served defensively by McCoy, a starter since his freshman year; Hohmann, who has been honored in the past as Brandeis’ Rookie of the Year and Most Improved Player; and Lynch, who started all 18 games in goal last season and has split time this year with senior Taylor Bracken, who was sidelined last year after undergoing stomach surgery.
“David McCoy is a special player,’’ said Coven of the former Catholic Conference all-star. “He’s a tenacious defender at center back and we bring him up on the attack on set pieces and corner kicks. He’s one of the best defenders at Brandeis in the last ten years and you just can’t beat him one-on-one.’’
McCoy, who played on CM’s first South Sectional championship team in 2006 and was an All-University Athletic Association honorable mention last year, teamed up with Hohmann and Lynch on a travel team in Weymouth.
“I’m not surprised at our start,’’ said McCoy. “It’s what we had hoped for last year when we were pretty good defensively but weren’t connecting at midfield and at the offensive end. Now we have that year of experience, but it’s still going to be a tough challenge ahead because some teams on our University Athletic Association schedule are already nationally ranked.’’
Coven said Hohmann, an EMass. All-Star and captain at Weymouth High, is “a defender’s defender, probably the hardest-driving player to the ball on our team. He goes after everything and he’s physical. And Matt Lynch led the UAA in saves and saves per game last year, and he’s already had a shutout this year against Colby-Sawyer. He’s been solid.’’
“Devin is incredibly dangerous offensively, has great speed and a nose for the goal, but is recovering from ACL surgery and she’ll inspire our team whether she plays or not,’’ said NU first-year head coach Tracey Leone. “Kelly is great in the air and very hard on the tackle and Kristen is our engine in the midfield and a great verbal leader.’’
Leone added that McGaffigan is an accomplished shooter and server while Smith is versatile, athletic, and an improving player.
Marvin Pave can be reached at 508-820-4223 or firstname.lastname@example.org.