Women's Soccer: Women prevail in tricky tests
Published: Monday, September 24, 2012
Updated: Monday, September 24, 2012 19:09
The women’s soccer team has continually relied on its impenetrable defense for victories this season, winning their most recent matches by one-goal margins.
The Judges played in consecutive nail-biters this week against Gordon College and Bates College after a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Bowdoin College on Sept. 15. Brandeis showed its resilience though by winning both contests last week by scores of 1-0.
Forward Dara Spital ’15 continued to anchor the offensive unit for the Judges, scoring the Judges’ only goal in their win against Bates College last Saturday in the 44th minute.
With one minute, 42 seconds left in the opening half, midfielder Alyssa Fenenbock ’15 chipped a ball from 45 yards out toward the top of the Bates penalty area. Spital made sure to capitalize on the open route for the game-winning goal. Eight different Judges also had shooting opportunities in the win.
Rookie midfielder Holly Szafran ’16 nearly scored off of a corner kick in the opening minute, while Spital challenged Bates junior goalkeeper Anabel Schmelz on three attempts. Midfielder Alec Spivack ’15 also sent Schmelz diving to deflect the ball out of harm's way.
It was a back-and-forth affair, and so, the Judges also had to rely on a strong defense to seal the victory. Goalies Michelle Savuto ’15 and Francine Kofinas ’13 shared goal-keeping duties, saving all six of Bates’ shots on goal.
Spital noted that Kofinas and Savuto’s goal-keeping abilities help the Judges in key moments.
“They continue to make some of the most amazing plays I have ever seen,” she said. “That is just one of the many reasons why we are winning.”
The Judges sought to avenge their loss against Bowdoin last Tuesday and did so in rapid fashion.
The squad came out of the gates quickly and aggressively versus Gordon, scoring on their second shot opportunity in the fifth minute of regulation.
Spital scored the goal in emphatic fashion, launching a left-footed strike from 25 yards that sailed over the outstretched arms of junior goalie Kari Christensen.
The Judges may have only scored one goal throughout the match, but they managed to fire 23 more shots, 11 of which were on goal, in the remaining 85 minutes.
Ten different Judges took these shots, a testament to the team's ability to distribute the ball across the field.
Spivack and defender Sapir Edalati ’15 fired off consecutive close-range shots in the 80th minute in an attempt to extend the lead, but Christensen deflected both shots.
Brandeis also dominated on the defensive side of the field, holding Gordon to only five shots, three of which were fired in the first half.
The game was played under unfavorable conditions, but the strong winds and rain clearly did not affect the Judges’ play.
Spital believed that the Judges’ ability to persevere served as the key factor in the win.
“We just battled. If we hadn’t battled, we weren’t going to win that game,” she said. “It just came down to who wanted more.”
Spital, who now holds a team-leading seven goals so far this season, has been the anchor of the offense, scoring in all but two games.
The Judges are currently ranked No. 24 in the Division III nationwide poll and begin conference play at the University of Rochester on Saturday.
Spital stated that the Judges will need to apply the same formula they have used this season against their conference rivals.
“We’re really confident,” she said.
“We break down everything in games and work on it in practice. Our outlook is really positive, and our team’s chemistry is really good, so we don’t fight or bicker about anything. We just keep our heads up.”