The women’s soccer team has started off their season with three impressive games and collected two wins and a tie while doing so. The Judges started off their fall 2023 season on Friday, Sept. 1 with a home-opener against the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
Their second game of the season was on Sunday, Sept. 3 against Fitchburg State University (FSU) and their second game of the season was on Tuesday, Sept. 5 against their rival, Babson University.
In their game against MIT, the score was quiet until the tail end of the second half. The Judges were playing defensively as it was not only their first game of the season, but MIT is ranked #18 in NCAA Division III Women’s Soccer according to the United Soccer Coaches poll this year. Due to this, the majority of play was taking place in the Judges’ defending half. MIT was having a strong showing offensively, but was unable to make it past the Judges defense very often. As the game hovered around midfield for most of the game, there were nearly no solid shots on goal produced by either team in the first half of the game. However, in the second half MIT increased their aggression and took 14 shots on Brandeis while the Judges only had three shots on the MIT net. The back and forth seemed like it was not going to be conducive of much goal-scoring this game until the 76th minute when Brandeis attacker, Yasla Ngoma ’24 was fouled by an MIT player inside the box. This awarded the Judges a penalty kick and a key opportunity to capitalize on and take the lead. Sophomore Elspeth Harker ’26 took the penalty kick and effortlessly loafted the ball into the upper right corner of the net. The Judges fans and players were ecstatic after this special moment and impressive play. For the remainder of the game, the Judges used their adrenaline to apply strong pressure and hold off the Engineers. It looked like they would capture the win until a Judge fouled an Engineer inside the Judges’ box. This produced a penalty kick opportunity for MIT which they were successful in scoring off of. With two seconds to spare after MIT tied the game, the Judges got a moment to touch the ball before the game concluded in a 1-1 against #18 ranked MIT. Though this game ended with a tie, this was an exciting way to start off the season for the Judges.
In their second game of the season, the Judges faced Fitchburg State. In the first half, the Judges took 26 shots, but were unsuccessful in getting any past the FSU keeper. In the second half, however, the Judges scored two points off of the 19 shots they took. They produced their first goal off of a corner kick less than two minutes into the half. Madison Sansone ’26 crossed the ball across the FSU box, allowing Sydney Lenhart to capitalize on the cross and earn the first point of the game for the Judges. The second goal for the Judges came in the 66th minute. The ball made it into the box off of a pass from Rachel Walther ’24 to Zareena Mann ’27 who made the assist to Harker. Harker’s goal concluded the point-scoring for the game and captured the 2-0 win for the Judges’ first win of the 2023 season.
In their third game of the season, the Judges traveled to Wellesley, Massachusetts to face Babson. The Babson Beavers started the game off strong with a goal in the 15th minute, however, the Judges were able to make their way back from the deficit by scoring three goals. The Judges successfully held off the Beavers for the remainder of the game with their strong defensive skills. The first goal for Brandeis came in the 27th minute as the Babson goalkeeper stepped well off her line for a challenge against the Judges. This was not a wise decision as Lacey Mbugua ’27 was able to earn possession and make it past the home team’s defense which allowed her to have a successful shot on net, tying the game 1-1. This was her first collegiate goal scored. In the 48th minute, Ngoma earned the lead for the Judges, as she received the ball at the 18-yard box and drove it into the back of the net. She scored once more to solidify the Judges’ win with a goal in the 77th minute. This goal was the result of another long shot from the 18. Mbugua provided Ngoma with the assist here.
Looking ahead, the Judges will face Roger Williams University in an away game on Friday, Sept. 8 at 4 p.m. prior to hosting Rhode Island College at 5 p.m. the following afternoon.