Women's Soccer: Squad shines at home
Published: Monday, September 10, 2012
Updated: Monday, September 10, 2012 19:09
The women’s soccer team found itself in a precarious position in its game against Springfield College last Saturday afternoon.
Despite leading 1-0, the Judges were on the defensive side of the field for the majority of the second half. The Pride—ranked 23rd nationally—threw everything at Brandeis, and it seemed that an equalizer was much more likely than an insurance goal.
However, the hosts proved that goals are not based on how many scoring chances you created; it’s how well you take them.
Forward Dara Spital ’15 scored her second goal of the game with 12 minutes remaining, as the Judges continued their fine start to the season with a 2-0 victory over Springfield.
Unlike its wins over Clark University and Roger Williams University, in which the Judges won 4-0 and 5-0, respectively Brandeis faced stifling defense and a formidable attack from the beginning of the match last Saturday.
Within five minutes, the alarm bells had begun to ring.
Springfield junior midfielder Vicky DiNatale hammered a rising shot towards the net, which beat Judges goalkeeper Francine Kofinas ’13. Even though the ball caromed off of the underside of the crossbar, it failed to cross the line, allowing the Judges to dodge a huge bullet.
Yet, despite the initial scare, Brandeis laid siege on Springfield’s goal, as eight of the Judges nine first-half shots were on net.
The Judges finally took the lead just after the half-hour mark.
First-year midfielder Melissa Darling ’16 had her shot saved by Pride sophmomore goalkeeper Erin Greenstein. Following a mad scramble, defender Chelsea Van Baush ’16 slid the ball to the waiting Spital, who made no mistake from close range to put the Judges up 1-0.
However, the job was far from done.
Goalie Michelle Savuto ’15 once again replaced Kofinas, who saved two shots in goal in the second half and was called into action four times. She made her presence known with an outstanding 66th minute save to deny Springfield’s junior attacker Nina Vital.
The stop would prove to be crucial, as Brandeis dealt the coup de grace in the 78th minute.
A perfectly aimed pass found its way into the penalty area, where Spital was on hand to slam it home and provide that sorely needed insurance goal. It proved to be a huge win against a team that the Judges lost to 2-0 last season.
Savuto believed the team's well-planned attack and resilient defense were key factors in the victory against Springfield.
"We proved we could beat physical teams by playing smarter. We used time well in the game and were able to slow them down on their attacking drives," she said. "I'm confident that as we continue to play more, our game speed and cohesion will only get better.
The Judges were out for revenge three days earlier against Roger Williams, who had won 2-0 last year as well.
In that contest, Spital broke the deadlock in the 12th minute once again, pulling a nice series of moves inside the box before firing a shot past Hawks junior goalkeeper Stephanie Jacques.
The Judges scored again just 12 minutes later.
Back Kelly Peterson ’14 caused mayhem inside the Roger Williams' penalty area, firing a pass to forward Holly Szafran ’16, who was on hand to head the ball into the net, giving the Judges a 2-0 advantage that they would take into the break.
Spital ensured there would be no comeback for the Hawks 64 seconds into the second half, firing home a loose ball to balloon the lead to 3-0.
Szafran then added her second goal eight minutes later in notable fashion. After pulling a series of moves down the right flank, the first-year lifted a high shot towards the near post. The shot caught Jacques out of position, sailing over the goalkeeper’s head and under the crossbar to wrap up the scoring.
Savuto was greatly impressed with the performance of the younger players on the squad who are dedicated to winning a NCAA championship.
"I'm genuinely impressed by all the new players," she said. "They all are so passionate about the game and want to help bring the team to another NCAA tournament."
Brandeis travels to Bridgewater State University today for a 3:30 p.m. clash in which the Judges will look to avenge last year’s 1-0 defeat.