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Brandeis sports, a year in review

By zaronow

Section: Sports

April 27, 2007

Well fellow Brandeisians, what a year it has been. We have seen new arrivals and bitter departures. We witnessed new bounds of success and the seeds for more. We have witnessed greatness and disappointments. All in all, it has been a good year for Brandeis sports.

Fall

The sports season kicked off with eyes on soccer and volleyball. Fueled by another strong season from Lorraine Wingenbach 09 and the strong play of rookie middle blockers Bridget McAllister 10 and Piera Carfagno 10, the Judges capped off a 22-17 season with the ECAC Crown in a 3-0 sweep of Colby-Sawyer. Wingenbach took the MVP honors. Among the high lights for volleyball was a 9-4 run from 10/15 10/28 which included a five game streak where the team did not surrender a single individual match.

Volleyball was not the only fall sport to reach new heights, mens soccer rode a 5-2 finish in the regular season to enter the ECAC as the fourth seed where they proceeded to upset top seeded Babson in the semi-finals and finished the ECAC Champs with a 5-3 victory over New England College. Ben Premo 09 showed his rookie year was not a fluke as he led the team with 42 points on the back of a team leading 16 goals and 10 assists. Forward Mike Snyder 07 capped off his final season in grand fashion as he led the team in tournament scoring with three goals including the game winner against Babson and two more against NEC to earn ECAC MVP honors. Rookie Taylor Bracken 10 also made a long-term claim for the goalkeeper position with 77 saves and a 1.30 goals against average. The team finished 10-7-3 for the season.

Womens soccer did not experience similar success. The season started with two straight overtime losses, then righted itself with a six game winning streak but in the end Smith College provided the tombstone to their season as they were shut out in the ECAC semi-finals. Lisa Kaplin 07 finished the season on top of the scoring sheet with eight goals and two assists, a team leading 18 points. Sarah Jasak 08 had a strong season with four goals and six assists for 14 points while rookie Melissa Gorenkoff 10 had a promising rookie year with four goals and three assists for 11 points.

Mens cross country had their best finish in the UAA competition since 1998, tying for second place with Washington University with 86 points. Womens cross-country struggled to a fifth place finish in the UAA tournament.

Unfortunately, hanging over the fall and part of the winter season was the pall of softball coach Mary Sullivans sudden dismissal. Things were made worse as Sullivan made her complaints public, stating that she was fired due to her age. For the record athletics department chair, Sheryl Sousa refused the circumstances behind the dismissal citing school policy but stated in response to whether age was a factor was, absolutely untrue. In the meantime, a search conducted by various members of the athletics department and team captain Christina McWilliams 07 eventually settled on Mount Ida coach Jessica Johnson.

Winter

With two ECAC champions, fall moved to winter where even though the temperatures plummeted, the basketball teams made sure Gosman was a hot box and neither team disappointed. With last years NCAA appearance under their belt, the womens team aimed for a repeat appearance at the very least. Just like last season, Jaime Capra 08 and Caitlin Malcolm 07 proved to be the pistons that powered the Judges. Capra would lead the team with 15.6 points per game and 5.0 rebounds. Capras shining moment came on February 11 when she scored a scintillating 31 points, helping Brandeis down then sixth ranked Rochester 65-49. Facing double teams and constantly harassed, Malcolm saw her stats slip to 11.6 points per game but lead the team with 6.5 rebounds per game. She became the teams all-time leading scorer on February 11, surpassing Racheal Perry 92 and finished her career with 1413 career points. Providing support from the bench were rookie guards Jessica Chapin 10 and Lauren Rashford 10 while second year forward Lauren Orlando 09 managed to lock down the other forward position.

Eyes though were on the mens basketball team. Although they were very inexperienced with no seniors on board, the team managed to catch the attention and appeal of the Brandeis faithful with their aggressive, up-tempo, run and gun style of play. Steve DeLuca 08, after a slow start, came on strong for the Judges and led the team with 15.4 points and 6.1 rebounds, both led the team. Joe Coppens 08 really stepped up this season, averaging 10.4 points and proved to be absolutely deadly from beyond the arc, especially in clutch situations. Among the newcomers who made an impact was forward Terrell Hollins 10. Hollins provided size and energy off the bench but unfortunately, his season was cut short due to a broken foot. However, this allowed Stephen Hill 08 to step up and allowed coach Brian Meehan to tighten his rotation. Andre Roberson 10 proved as a rookie that the point guard spot will be in good hands when Kwame Graves-Fulgham finishes his college career next season.

With both squads picking up 19 wins in the regular season, history was made as they both were given at-large bids for the NCAA Division III Tournament. In the first round, Coach Simons squad rode behind Jaime Capras 33 points as they destroyed Maine-Farmington 90-66. The men had a tougher match-up against Trinity College. Trailing heading into the final minute of the game, Joe Coppenss three with 27 seconds left tied the game and then rode the momentum in overtime to a 77-70 victory. The second round however proved to be the screen door on the submarine for both squads. Against Emmanuel, the women could not crack the full court press and committed 35 turnovers, leaving them the bridesmaids in a disappointing 71-66 loss. The men on the other hand got trigger happy from beyond three point line and as a result, were unable to dig out of the hole despite a furious rally and fell short to Rhode Island College 70-67.

Not be completely overshadowed by basketball, mens fencing won their first individual weapons title (epee) as they finished a best ever fourth place at the IFA Championships. Sent to the NCAAs were Will Friedman 09 and Kai Keller 07. On the womens side, the squad finished 8th at the IFAs and representing the squad at the NCAA was Caitlin Kozel 09.

On the indoor track and field, the men struggled to a seventh place finish in the UAA Championships though the Distance Medley Relay team was able to qualify for the NCAAs. On the womens side, the team was able to claim fourth place against UAA foes and Anat Ben Nun 09 represented Brandeis at the NCAAs and claimed All-America honors in the triple-jump.

In the pool, the men swam to a 6-4 record and finished with 13th place in the ECAC Tournament. There were more struggles on the womens side as they floundered to a 3-7 record and no postseason appearance although there is signs of hope for the future after the strong performances of rookies Hollis Viray 10, Rachel Sawicki 10, and Donna Kremer 10.

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