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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Women’s soccer bounces from two straight conference losses with two home wins

Published: October 26, 2012
Section: Sports

With wins against Lesley and Lasell this past week, the Brandeis women’s soccer team sits with a 12-3-1 record with three matches left in the season. It was a tough road trip last week, with the Judges not playing their best soccer and losing to University of Chicago and Washington University in St. Louis.

“We just didn’t come together as a team in the field,” Melissa Darling ’16 said. The Judges had an opportunity at redemption this week, however, and they seized it.

Brandeis controlled both matches. The Judges outshot Lesley 15-6 and Lasell 25-9 for a total of 40 shots—as compared to 15 shots for the opposition. In shots on goal, Brandeis also led with 22 against five for the opposition. These stats express the offense coordination and competence as well as defensive prowess and the ability to move the ball up the pitch, which the Judges have continued to show throughout the season.

Michelle Savuto ’15 and Francine Kofinas ’13 have been part of the Judges’ clutch defense. Even though there was one goal allowed against Lasell, the tandem made four out of five saves, and six out of six against Lesley, some of which were diving fingertip-saves that could have changed momentum of not just the match, but the season as well. This has been and will be a key to the team’s future success: making clutch saves when needed.

With the exception of the previous week’s games against Chicago and Washington University in St. Louis, the defensive line that has complemented the keepers has performed well. In fact, the 1-0 victory against Lasell ties a school record for clean sheets, which has been achieved in only three other campaigns. It is often said that defense wins championships, and in this case, a consistent Brandeis defense could hold any team off of the scoreboard.

The reality, however, is that the three matches that the Judges have lost this season have been matches where two or more goals have been allowed. These matches have featured inconsistent defense, and will not be beneficial as the season comes to close in the next couple of weeks.

The most recent clean sheet was the match last week against Lesley. Brandeis proved to dominate the 1-0 victory as the aforementioned stats display. But the stat sheet does not tell the full story of Alec Spivack’s ’15 game-winning goal for the Judges. Spivack was able to brilliantly curve a set piece (from about 20 yards out) into the far left post of the Lesley goal. The goal turned out to be Spivack’s first of the season and first of the match against Lesley keeper Emileigh Lloyd, who kept the Judges to only one goal with six saves. It was only the fifth goal allowed by Lloyd—and the Lesley defense—all season. The win was just another one of the impressive wins against top opponents for the Judges, as Lesley had been 11-1-2 before losing to Brandeis.

The Lasell match was much less intense in terms of defense, with the Judges moving the ball easily up the pitch and dominating offensive movement around the box. Although Lasell did manage to sneak a goal through the Judges’ defense, Brandeis had goals from its top scorer as well as a rookie on her birthday. Dara Spital ’15 would find the first goal of the match with a scorching, strike of a cross from Sara Isaacson ’16. This is Spital’s tenth goal of the season, a team-leading figure and an amazing total for her stat line.

With the Judges scoring many shots on goal during the match, it was up to Lasell keeper Leah Pappalardo to keep her side from disintegrating under pressure. With her twelve saves over the entire match, she kept the relentless attack from the Judges at bay, allowing her team a chance for victory. Pappalardo, however, could not stop Sapir Edalati ’15 from making her presence known. Edalati, a constant force on the team, both in her work around the goal as well as in the midfield, scored her goal in the 87th minute as an insurance goal for the Judges’ 3-1 victory. The goal, from 35 yards out, was a powerful strike that crossed the goal line just under the crossbar. She had also assisted on the goal from Mathilde Robinson ’16 earlier in the match.

In the 63rd minute, Edalati would furnish a cross from the corner right into the heart of the box, finding the swift foot of Robinson for a deft touch into the back of the net. This was Robinson’s first goal of her college career and the match-winner for the Judges.

Overall, it was very beneficial to win these two matches as the Judges maintain playoff hopes, but it was not necessary. The last three matches are against conference opponents, all with winning records.

The Judges need to get good results from these matches to move into playoff contention. It will be a challenge. Emory, the Judges’ next opponent, is undefeated and ranked first in the nation. The match will be at home on Friday at 4 p.m. and the match against Carnegie Mellon will be home on Saturday at 11 a.m.