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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Brandeis soccer to face challenges in ’07

Published: August 31, 2007
Section: Sports

At the beginning of the 2007 season, both the Mens and Womens soccer teams have reasons to be optimistic. The Mens side returns as the defending Eastern College Athletic Conference champion, winning the 2006 tournament with a 5-3 victory over New England College. The Womens team, meanwhile, has qualified for the postseason in four consecutive seasons, and in the last two years has advanced to the ECAC quarterfinals.

We are hoping to improve on our 13-6-3 record of a year ago, said Mens coach Mike Coven. Our goal, as always, is to have a successful [University Athletic Association] season and make the NCAA tournament. Coven is in his 34th season guiding the Mens team, and is the only coach currently on the athletic staff to have won a national championship. He led the Brandeis Mens team to an NCAA Division III title in 1976.

However, there will be a slew of new faces on the mens team this year, after the graduation of six seniors and the transfer of one other player.

This year's team will have a different look from last year due to the departure of six seniors and our top returning freshman scorer, said Coven. However, he added the returning team all came in very fit.

Key components of the returning Mens squad are forward Ben Premo 09, and the teams three senior captains: defensemen Brett Fitzgerald 08, David Weinstein 08, and midfielder Evan Duval 08. Last season, Premo led the team and the UAA with 16 goals and 10 assists for 42 points, and was an All-UAA first-team selection.
Fitzgerald had four goals, while leading a defense that recorded eight shutouts during the season. He was a second-team All-UAA selection.

The team has been working hard throughout preseason, said Weinstein. We don't worry about lost seniors, but rather just focus on who we have available to play. We are excited for the season and all our focus right now is towards our next game against Endicott.

“I think we are returning a very strong core of veteran players, said Duval. We returned our starting goalie, our whole defense, and Ben Premo, who could potentially be a top five goal scorer in Brandeis history.”

I like our teams chances this year to make a run for the NCAA tournament, Duval added. We are coming off a ECAC championship, and are hungry for more.

The Mens soccer season begins on Sept. 1, with a home match against Endicott. The team is then on the road for three games before returning home for a game against Worcester Polytechnic Institute on Sept. 11.

On the womens side, coach Denise Dallamora, who is in her 19th season and is the only womens soccer coach in Brandeis history, said that the team looks very good. However, she added I am a little disappointed that we are not in the best of shape, and we will need to work hard to catch up to the competition.

The Lady Judges will have to withstand the loss of their leading scorer, Lisa Kaplin, who had 18 points last year, but graduated in the spring.

However, returning to anchor the midfield are seniors Sarah Jasak, who tallied 14 points last year, and Lizzie Bremner. Also returning are goaltender Betsey Medow and midfielder Amy King, who are the senior captains along with Jasak and Bremner.

“I think we have a good combination of established players and new talent,” said Medow. “I feel that the freshman will be vital toward the success of the team this year.

“We basically lost our entire defensive line last year,” Medow continued, “and we've had to make alot of changes, moving people around and trying out people in different roles.”

Bremner added that pre-season training took us back to the basics, so we can build as a team starting from defense and working our way up through our offense. With the addition of a lot of new players this year, we are excited, although we haven't developed expectations for the season, as we are only just all learning how to play together.

Another key player returning to the team is sophomore Melissa Gorenkoff, who had 11 points during her rookie campaign.

Our team will be strong if we learn how to utilize our strengths and hide our weaknesses, as we learn to work together as a team, said Bremner.

“I'm excited for the season to start,” said Medow. “There is a lot of new talent, and many established players that have been succesful as a team in the past, and who want to continue that success, and show the freshman what it is like to be a winning team.

“Throughout my four years on the women's soccer team, something that we've always had going for us is team unity and team chemistry,” she added. “I feel that this year, more so than ever before, we really are one unit. I'm anxious to see how that chemistry and unity manifests itself on the field.

The Womens team begins its season on Sept. 1, at home against MIT. The Lady Judges return to Brandeis on Sept. 12, for a match against Bridgewater State College.