Vallone hat trick leads No. 18 Brandeis women past Case, 5-1, in UAA opener

Vallone hat trick leads No. 18 Brandeis women past Case, 5-1, in UAA opener

WALTHAM, Mass. – Senior forward Sofia Vallone (Westport, Conn./Staples) recorded her first career hat trick to lead the Brandeis University women's soccer team past visiting Case Western Reserve University, 5-1, in the University Athletic Association (UAA) opener for both teams.

With the win, the 18th-ranked Judges improve to 8-1-1, 1-0 in the UAA, extending their winning streak to seven matches and their unbeaten string to nine. The winning streak is their longest in a single season since 2004, while the unbeaten streak is the longest since 2003, both streaks that started the season. Case falls to 6-3-1 on the campaign, 0-1 in the UAA.

      Many of today's goals were scored on long shots from outside the 18-yard box. The tone was set in the 10th minute, when senior Tiffany Pacheco (Rehoboth, Mass./Dighton-Rehoboth) sent a ball into the upper left corner from the top of the box for her sixth goal of the season.

Vallone scored the game's second goal in the 21st minute with a strike along the ground from nearly 25 yards away. Junior midfielder Alanna Torre (Weston, Fla./American Heritage School) picked up the assist no the play. The goal would prove to be Vallone's fourth game-winner of the season.

      Case responded just 75 seconds later, cutting the lead in half when sophomore Kendra Simmons (Medina, Ohio/Walsh Jesuit) tallied her fourth goal of the season. She sent the ball just inside the near post from 20 yards out on a feed from sophomore midfielder Erica Sackett (Independence, Ohio/Newman Catholic) at the 22 minute mark. The teams went back and forth for the rest of the half, with the Judges taking just a one-goal lead into the break despite outshooting the Spartans, 11-6, and owning a 3-0 edge in corner kicks.

      Brandeis extended the lead back to two in the 56th minute on the first of two connections between Vallone and junior midfielder Mimi Theodore (Walpole, Mass./Walpole). The two executed a nifty give-and-go at the top of the box, with Vallone finishing, giving her the fourth multiple-goal game of the season and third in the last four games. Torre added a 67th-minute goal when she snuck a ball just under the crossbar for her second goal of the season, while Vallone finished the hat trick with a strike from just outside the box in the 76th minute for her team- and UAA-leading 11th goal of the season.

      Case forced the issue on the offensive end in the second half, edging Brandeis with 11 shots to Brandeis's 10, but Judge sophomore Francine Kofinas (Dix Hills, N.Y./Half Hollow Hills West) made five of her eight saves in the second stanza to pick up the win. Spartan sophomore Chelsea Lasky (Fairview, Pa./Villa Maria Acad.) made two saves and allowed two goals in the first half, while rookie Kerry Martenis (Southgate, Mich.) had four stops and three goals allowed in the second.

      Brandeis returns to action next Wednesday evening at 7 p.m. with a non-conference tilt against Tufts University, while Case is back in action the same night against Hiram College.