Squad nears record win streak as week closes
After what seemed to be a record setting start to the women’s season, the Judges have further proven this week that they are not a team to mess with. After an excellent 5-0 start to the first two weeks of the season, the Judges have continued their pattern of dominance, bringing the hammer to Eastern Connecticut State University on Tuesday and coming from behind to beat Wentworth Institute of Technology 2-1 on Thursday. A phenomenally coached team led by forward Lea McDaniel ’17 and keeper Alexis Grossman ’17, the Judges seem to be on their way to a historic season.
Judges 5, Eastern Conn. 0
On Tuesday, the team took care of business in what has come to seem like routine fashion as they shut out Eastern Connecticut 5-0. Brandeis started out attacking aggressively on the offensive end, scoring all three of their first goals on offensive rebounds.
The first goal of the contest came from McDaniel as she slammed home a missed shot by forward Haliana Burhans ’18. The team did not look back from there, as they continued to execute a dominant offensive game plan. Grossman had four saves as she continued her perfect season. This game marked the 15th shutout of Grossman’s tremendous career, and it continued the team’s incredible shutout streak to 540 straight minutes of play.
Judges 2, Wentworth 1
On Thursday, the Judges hosted an also unbeaten team, the Wentworth Institute of Technology Leopards, for a match that seemed to be Brandeis’ most challenging of the season so far.
In the 14th minute of play, the Leopards’ senior back Mary Pastorelli scored the first point of the game and Brandeis’ first allowed goal all season. This snapped the Judges’ remarkable streak of 553 scoreless minutes allowed by an opponent. The rest of the half went scoreless by both sides, and despite the scoreboard’s single point difference, the Judges were not happy. The team knew there would be lots of work to do come game time to start the second half of the battle.
After the game, Coach Denise Dallamora revealed that at halftime, the team decided to “pick up the pace and start playing our own game.”
Sure enough, this plan was executed perfectly.
In the final period, the game immediately turned to the favor of Brandeis. The Judges managed to come out of the gate with a completely different mindset than they did the first half, as forward Samantha Schwartz ’18 scored their first goal in just two minutes and nine seconds. This goal came from an assist by McDaniel, the recipient the University Athletic Association Offensive Player of the Week award for the previous two straight weeks.
The Leopards’ defense made an emphasis to defend against McDaniel as tightly as possible due to her stellar talents, and this allowed the opportunity for other teammates to attack on offense. With the extra attention McDaniel received on defense, she realized that her teammates would have several easy opportunities to score, and the whole team took advantage of this opportunity.
In the second half, the Judges seemed to pick up the pace of play and, soon enough, they were leading the game 2-1. The team went on to maintain their lead, proving that the team knew how to persevere. As Dallamora described the outcome of the game, “We’re hard workers, and we have heart.”
Brandeis now looks ahead to a lengthy four game road stretch, as they prepare to first play a talented Babson College team, followed by the undefeated Tufts University.
The Judges handled Babson well last year, beating the squad 3-0 in a blowout win. McDaniel bashed in a goal and dished an assist of her own in the win.
The team narrowly edged out Tufts for a 1-0 victory, extending their winning streak to nine games before a deflating tie to top-ranked Wellesley College.
Going forward, the team knows that they must maintain the teamwork that has led them to such a strong start. Even with the impressive individual talent on the team, everybody has managed to contribute over this excellent start to the season.
As Dallomora mentioned the game against WIT, “That is the ultimate teamwork.” If McDaniel can continue to lead the team in the way that she has, and the Judges make sure to play as one unit, the future for this season looks only positive from here on out.