WALTHAM, Mass. - For the second year in a row, the Brandeis University women's soccer team has earned the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Division III New England crown. The second-seeded Judges defended the title with a 3-1 win over No. 4 seed University of New England. Junior forward Melissa Gorenkoff (Woodbury, N.Y.) was named the tournament MVP after finishing with four goals and two assists in three games.
Brandeis (13-7-2) wasted little time in jumping out to a lead. Gorenkoff assisted the game-winning goal at the 3:14 mark. She carried the ball to the end-line and sent a cross in front of the net. Rookie midfielder Mimi Theodore (Walpole, Mass.) was there to tap it into the wide open net for her third goal of the season.
Gorenkoff added her fourth goal of the tournament, which proved to be the game-winner, at the 27:25 mark. She dribbled around the perimeter of the 18-yard box to get some free space before firing it into the far side of the net. It was her eighth goal of the season and second game-winner.
The Judges added a third goal late in the stanza. Sophomore forward Tiffany Pacheco (Rehoboth, Mass.) collected a UNE turnover in the offensive zone. She one-touched the ball to rookie midfielder Alanna Torre (Weston, Fla.), who sent the ball home at 42:47. The Judges took the 3-0 lead into the half, outshooting the visitors, 13-5.
The University of New England (15-6) got back in the game in the second half. They outshot Brandeis, 14-5, to finish with a 19-18 advantage for the game and just missed getting on the board in the 70th minute when junior Ali Trafton (Manchester, Maine) hit the crossbar. The Nor'easters finally broke through at 81:17, when their two leading scorers combined to snap the Judges' five-match postseason shutout streak. Rookie Maggie Mahoney (Newburyport, Mass.) sent a perfect through-ball to classmate Sarah Richardson (Rochester, N.H.). Richardson tipped it over the oncoming Brandeis netminder to get UNE back in the game. The Nor'easters got off three more shots in the late-going, but were unable to get any closer.
Brandeis junior Hillary Rosenzweig (Boca Raton, Fla.) made six saves to earn the win, four coming in the second half. UNE junior Leigh Engel (Richmondville, N.Y.) made seven stops in the game in the losing effort.