Women's soccer headed to ECAC finals after defeating MCLA, 3-1, on PKs

Women's soccer headed to ECAC finals after defeating MCLA, 3-1, on PKs

WALTHAM, Mass. - In a downpour on Gordon Field today, thetop-seeded Brandeis University women's soccer team rallied from atwo-goal deficit to force overtime against No. 4 seed Mass. Collegeof Liberal Arts. After two scoreless extra periods and the scoredtied, 3-3, the Judges prevailed on penalty kicks, 3-1. They willadvance to their third-straight ECAC Tournament championshiptomorrow, when they will host second-seeded Keene State College atnoon.

      Brandeis (10-6-4) opened thescoring early in the 6th minute in the wet weather.Senior forward Melissa Gorenkoff (Woodbury,N.Y./Syosset) rifled a shot through the box. Junior midfielderSofia Vallone (Westport, Conn./Staples) was ableto get a leg on it, deflecting the ball past sophomore goalkeeperJen Wehner (Cooperstown, N.Y.). The goal was Vallone's third of theseason.

      After the opening salvo, Wehnerwas fantastic for the Trailblazers, stopping seven more Brandeisshots in the first half, while two of her defenders helped clearballs off the line. The Judges owned just a 1-0 lead at halftime,keeping MCLA's leading scorer, junior Jess Tietgens (Stamford, Vt.)under wraps, allowing her just three shots before the break.

      Tietgens would not be denied thesecond half, scoring on her first two shots. She tallied her29th goal of the season in the 50th minute,when she sent a slow roller past Brandeis senior netminderHillary Rosenzweig (Boca Raton, Fla./SpanishRiver)on a feed from junior forward Danielle Parenteau(Southampton, Mass.). Tiegens gave the Trailblazers their firstlead of the game less than two minutes later, when she dribbledthrough the defense and sent a high shot on net. It deflected downoff the cross bar and in to put MCLA ahead, 2-1.

      The Trailblazers (15-5-1) kept uptheir pressure and expanded the lead in the 68th minute.Parenteau sent a hard cross in front of the net, and junior forwardHarmony McGorman (Orleans, Mass.) got a head on it. She flicked iton to the foot of rookie midfielder Brianna Bressett (Adams,Mass.), who poked it home for her first of the season.

      Brandeis wasted no time instarting their comeback, however, cutting into the lead just 52seconds later. Vallone found midfielder MimiTheodore (Walpole, Mass.) at the top of the box. Thesophomore dribbled in, beat one defender and slid the ball to thelower left of the net for her 10th of the season.

      After some back-and-forth playover the next 12 minutes, Gorenkoff, the MVP of last year's ECACtournament, scored the equalizer. After receiving a pass fromsophomore forward Kelly Doolittle (Bristol,Conn./Bristol Eastern) on the right sideline, Gorenkoff bent a longshot over Wehner's head and into the left netting, evening the gameat 3-3 in the 85th minute. In the overtime periods, bothteams had control at times, with shots favoring Brandeis, 5-4, butRosenzweig had to make three saves to one by Wehner, forcing theshootout.

      In the shootout, Brandeis wentfirst, and Wehner dove to her left to stop Brandeis junior backTaryn Martiniello (Wilmington, Mass./Wilmington),but Rosenzweig matched her with a save to her right on Bresett.Brandeis sophomore back Francesca Shin (Bayside,N.Y./Benjamin N. Cardozo) rallied from an injury earlier in thegame to convert the Judges' second attempt, finding the upper rightof the net, while Gorenkoff made another nice diving save in thesecond round to deny Tietgens. Brandeis junior TiffanyPacheco (Rehoboth, Mass.) and Parenteau both scored upperright in the third round. Leading 2-1 in the fourth round, Brandeissophomore back Jessica Schulman (Redwood City,Calif./Woodside) was the third straight Judge to find theupper-right corner, while MCLA midfielder Jade Prickett's(Westhampton, Mass.) shot went wide to the left, giving the Judgesthe 3-1 PK win.

      Despite allowing three goalseach, both goalkeepers played well. Rosenzweig made 10 saves, aseason-high, plus the two big stops in the penalty kicks. Wehnerhad 14 stops and denied several Brandeis crosses and corner kicks.