Brandeis women’s soccer earned a first round win the NCAA national tournament on Saturday, Nov. 11, against Stevens Institute of Technology, outshooting Stevens 7-4 throughout the scoreless first half. The 3-1 win put the women’s soccer team into their fourth straight second round at NCAAs.
Three players shared the Judges’ three goals, with back-and-forth offensives from both teams.
The Judges breakthrough came in the 51st minute when captain Samantha Schwartz ’18 sent a cross in front of the Stevens goal to the head of Sasha Sunday ’18 to obtain a Judges’ lead. Sunday leads the teams in goals for the season with a total of nine.
The women created a safety net in the 77th minute with a goal from captain Haliana Burhans ’18. Burhans angled the ball from the right side of the goal box to find the net, advancing the Judges lead to 2-0.
Stevens Tech answered the goal with one of their own in the 86th minute, and not even two minutes later, the Judges returned the favor with a goal from Emma Spector ’20, the first of her career. Spector faced off against the Stevens goalie in a one-on-one challenge. She found a gap and slipped the ball into the goal.
Stevens Tech, though out in the first round, finished their season ranked No. 16 in the nation. The Judges would take the momentum from the first round into the second round against No. 6 ranked Williams College.
The Judges lost dominance on the offensive in the tournament’s second round. After a brief streak of possession in the beginning of the first half, Brandeis began to play a largely defensive game. Earning just five total shots, the team couldn’t find many opportunities to capitalize and convert the shots into goals.
Williams had a total of 29 shot opportunities throughout the game, 11 of them on goal. The hosting team converted three of those shots to goals, defeating the Judge 3-0 to enter the Sweet Sixteen.
In her final game with the Judges, Frankie Pinto ’17, MA ’18, a Brandeis graduate student, put in a great game in the goal, making a total of seven saves from Williams shots.
The women ended their season with a record 12-5-4. Despite a tumultuous season with performance-altering injuries on the defensive side, the Judges still secured their fourth-straight NCAA national tournament berth. Going into the 2018 season, the Judges lose two seniors from their roster, captains Burhans and Schwartz.