Szafran reflects on season as women’s soccer heads into NCAAs

Szafran reflects on season as women’s soccer heads into NCAAs

November 13, 2015

Holly Szafran ’16 has been a member of the Varsity Women’s Soccer team since her first year at Brandeis. Now she is one of the senior captains of the team and is looking to make a dent in her final post-season playoff starting on Saturday, Nov. 14 at Amherst College.
Szafran is originally from Newton, MA, and is a Health: Science, Society, and Policy major with minors in Legal Studies and Politics here at Brandeis. She looks to work for a year before taking the LSAT and applying to law schools. As a student-athlete, Szafran has faced many challenges. She was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes 12 years ago, and it has been a huge obstacle she has had to overcome as well as a central part of her personal development. “It’s a huge part of my life and still not a lot of people know I have it. I think it really helped me with self-control, time management and organization,” Szafran explains.

Szafran has started in every game this season. The senior captain is a midfielder who has accumulated six goals throughout the season, three of which have been game-winners. She has also successfully completed four assists in 2015. She had a particularly lucrative game against Westfield State on Oct. 21, where she scored two out of the three goals for the Judges, and aided the third with an assist.

Szafran said, “One of our goals coming into pre-season was to have other teams fear us, and I think we did a great job this year fulfilling that goal.” The team as a whole racked up 19 wins in the 2015 season, including a huge 1-0 win against UAA conference opponent Washington University in the homecoming game on Sunday Oct. 18. Szafran describes it as one of the most important victories this year because Wash U. is “ranked, as well as in our conference, and we always have a small rivalry with them.” Comparably, the team only suffered two losses and three ties, both losses coming from UAA conference opponents.

For Szafran though, the greatest moment of her final season occurred in the team’s very first game back in September against MIT. In that game, the team fought back from a 0-1 deficit, to steal the victory with four straight goals. In an email to the Hoot, Szafran wrote, “Four different players on the team scored, and we really fought back and showed how much heart we have for the game.” The game was representative of how the rest of the season would turn out, and how much of a threat the Brandeis Women’s Soccer team posed to other highly ranked teams.

The final game of the regular season was played against New York University, another UAA conference opponent, on Saturday, Nov. 7. The Judges pulled away with a 1-0 win, the lone goal coming from Lea McDaniel ’17 who volleyed the ball over the NYU goalkeeper’s head, off of a throw-in from Jessica Morana ’17 in the 36th minute. Szafran admits that the game was not the best executed game they’ve played this season, but she explains, “A win is a win and we did what we had to do to finish the season strong.” The Judges were not able to qualify to host the first round of the playoffs, so the NYU game happened to be the last home game of Szafran’s career. She points out, “It was my last home game at Brandeis, but not my last time wearing a Brandeis uniform and that’s all I could ask for!”

The team is also graduating senior captains Alec Spivack ’16, Mathilde Robinson ’16, and Haley Schachter ’16, along with classmates Alyson Parziale ’16, Katy Lehmann ’16, Chelsea Van Baush ’16 and Melissa Darling ’16.

The team plays Western Connecticut State University in the first round of the NCAA Division III tournament over the weekend. WCSU currently holds a record of 16-5-1 overall, participating in the Little East Conference. According to Szafran though, the team looks to try their best to make it much further than that in the competition. They are determined to reach greater heights and prove their place in the competition. Szafran feels the team spirit is increasing as they head into the next few critical weekends. She said, “We expect the best for the playoffs. We can’t play anything but our best and we’re working harder than ever this week in training to show we should’ve hosted.”

The first round game is being hosted at Amherst College in Amherst, MA. The kickoff starts at 1:30 p.m. The Judges are coming out fired up with energy and determination, looking to make it deep in the bracket. Szafran said, “Teams are going to have to kill us to beat us. We’re so pumped for this post season and ready to go really far in the tournament.”

Menu Title