Team stays alive even without Dana
The No. 21 women’s soccer team bounced back from its second loss of the season in dominating fashion with a win over Westfield State University on Wednesday before tying Elms College Sunday afternoon. This brings the Judges’ record to 11-2-3 as they enter their final three matches of the season.
Judges 2, Elms 2
The Judges’ final nonconference game of the season went into two overtimes Sunday afternoon, ending in the Judges’ third draw of the season. Down by two goals for the first 78 minutes of the match, forward Samantha Schwartz ’18 brought the team back from the jaws of defeat with two clutch scores, tying the game with seven minutes remaining in regulation. The Judges were unable to complete the comeback in regulation despite shots from Schwartz and defender Hannah Maatallah ’19 in the final minute of play. Midfielder Daria Bakhtiari ’21 was extremely active throughout the match, breaking up the Blazers’ efforts down the field and protecting first-game keepers Gemma Curnin ’19 and Frankie Pinto ’18. Both performed impressively in their first games for the Judges, with Pinto in goal for the first half and Curnin taking over for the second half and overtimes. With two minutes to go in the second overtime, the Judges flipped in what was thought to be the game-winning goal, only to have it taken back by an offside call. Schwartz’s two goals gives her eight on the season, tying her with forward Sasha Sunday ’19 for the team lead.
Judges 4, Westfield State 1
The Judges easily defeated the Westfield State University Owls last Wednesday, led by a hat-trick from Sunday. Sunday added an assist on top of her three goals, accounting for a career-high seven points. The junior came out firing early, giving the Judges the lead with a goal 10 minutes and 49 seconds into the game on the first of two assists from Schwartz to Sunday. The second Schwartz-Sunday connection came ten minutes later when the two perfectly executed a give-and-go, which Sunday knocked in over the Owls’ keeper. Fellow forward Julia Matson ’19 added her own standout performance, making the score 3-0 in favor of the Judges with her fourth goal of the season on an assist from Sunday. After a slow start to the second half, Sunday answered the lone goal from Westfield State with her third of the match.
This game was also the first for keeper Maura Koehler ’19, who had a tremendous debut outing with four saves on five shots at the goal. Koehler’s start came due to injuries to keepers Sierra Dana ’20 and Victoria Richardson ’20. These injuries forced the team to add a number of new players to the team to play keeper, including Koehler, Curnin and graduate student Pinto. Notably, Curnin and Pinto are both former Brandeis basketball players and will look to transfer those skills to help the Judges out in this unexpected tough spot.
Thinking back on the game, Sunday addressed this head on. “There has been too many injuries on our team this season, and we all intended to play for Sierra, Vick, Kerin, Emmy, Becca and others whose seasons were ended early due to unfortunate injuries,” she said. This specifically influenced her play on Wednesday, which saw her attempt a career-high seven shots after not taking any in the previous week’s loss to Emory University. “Without Vick or Sierra in goal, our team was faced with the task of defending our new keeper and, as a forward, I saw my job as out scoring the other team.”
The Judges wind down their season with three conference games at home over the next two weeks. Next Friday, the team takes on Washington University in St. Louis.