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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

The No. 20 Judges keep on rolling with their fourth straight win

Published: October 5, 2012
Section: Sports

In their first match against a conference opponent, the women’s soccer team defeated the University of Rochester 1-0 last Saturday, with Rochester constantly on the defensive and reeling from repeated attacks by the Brandeis offense. The offense’s success was supplied by the defense as all the players on the pitch seemed to work in unison. This sort of play is rare, but when it occurs it makes it absolutely difficult to attack and defend. The Judges then followed up with a dominating 4-1 win over Babson.

Emma Eddy ’15 reiterated the Judges’ dominance.

“We played really well, the whole team put in a lot of effort—it was great day, no rain, pretty much everything went well,” Eddy said.

The only negative part of the game for the Judges was the lack of goals and the worrying due to a one-goal lead with ten minutes to play in the last half. Although the Judges found themselves in complete control over the match, most of it was spent at a 0-0 tie. Chance after chance escaped the Judges until the 80th minute when Dara Spital ’15 struck again for her eighth goal of the season.

Sapir Edalati ’15 started the scoring chance by volleying a header in the box to Spital’s position, also in the box. Spital did not look back and stuck the volley past the outstretched hands of the Rochester keeper, Bridget Lang.

The Judges then held on to capture their first UAA victory. With the way the Judges were playing, however, it proved to be easier than they had expected.

The Judges’ dominating play was constant throughout the game. But the gameplay actually proved to be “fast [and] back-and-forth for much of the game. We had control but the ball moved quickly around the field,” Eddy said.

When Rochester did manage to win the ball, they would quickly try to move it up the pitch but would almost always lose out to Brandeis’ defensive line. This made the game move quickly, and even when the Judges had strict possession, the 0-0 score was an incentive for the Judges to attack with speed and strength, providing a back-and-forth feel yet remaining under control.

Statistically, the Judges picked up a total of 21 shots, 11 on goal, to Rochester’s four shots, with only one of them on goal. The number of shots displays the extent of the dominance of the Judges’ offensive and team play.

Eddy was upfront about the Judges’ offense.

“We had control. I mean, we outshot them, we had possession for most of the game; they really couldn’t get anything going against us,” she said.

A significant shot differential, however, can not only result from brilliant offensive play, but also great midfield and defensive performances as well, as they provide the base of any offensive attack.

Regarding defense, Eddy added that, “Our defense was amazing, we were able to stop possession almost every time—just really good defense in general.” In fact, it has been the Judges’ defense that has kept them in the last four matches, all 1-0 victories. Defense has been key to the team’s success in attaining their 9-1-0 record as every single win has been a clean sheet, with the only loss occurring after the Judges allowed two goals.

Yet, during the last couple of matches, the Judges have found themselves scoring one goal per match, just enough with a good defense but still rather low. With all the dominating possession in the match by the Judges, the only thing that kept Brandeis from scoring more was the keeper Lang for Rochester. While only one save was recorded between two Brandeis keepers Francine Kofinas ’13 and Michelle Savuto ’15, 10 were recorded for Lang, who was the reason that her side allowed only one goal throughout the match. This is because the defense and midfield could not challenge Brandeis effectively and win the ball while the offense could not keep possession long enough to ignite a legitimate scoring opportunity within the box. The ball usually found itself around Lang’s box, and usually into her gloves.

This match added momentum to an already strong season, with the team ranked 20th in the nation. With a 9-1-0 record, and four straight wins after their only loss, the Judges look to take their accomplishments and potential into the rest of the UAA schedule and make a respectable push for the playoffs.

That push continues on Saturday with a home game at 11 a.m. against Case Western.