Rookies lead Brandeis women past Castleton State, 2-1, in NCAA Tourney opener
WALTHAM, Mass. – The Brandeis University women's soccer team picked up its first-ever NCAA Division III tournament victory today, defeating Castleton State College, 2-1, on Gordon Field. The Judges improve to 15-4-1 on the campaign and will face Williams College, who defeated Lasell College, 3-0, in today's first game. The Spartans see their 18-game unbeaten streak snapped and conclude their campaign at 16-3-1.
In the first half, Brandeis owned a 13-3 advantage in shots and 4-0 edge in corner kick, but was Castleton State tallied first. The Spartans got on the board at 9:48 thanks to the high-scoring combination of juniors Courtney Chadbourne (No. Clarendon, Vt./Mill River Union) and Hilary Cooke (Marlborough, Conn./RHAM). Chadbourne sent a laser beam of a cross from the right sideline through the box, where Cooke's head was waiting to deposit it in the back of the net. The goal was Cooke's 17th of the season, while Chadbourne's assist was her eight of the campaign and gave her 50 points on the season.
Brandeis responded less than two minutes later on the first of two goals by rookies after junior Alanna Torre (Weston, Fla./American Heritage School) sent a ball towards the net. As it bounded towards the goal-line, midfielder Mary Shimko (Bay Village, Ohio) was there to put it home for her second goal of the season at the 11:42 mark. The Judges controlled play the rest of the way in the first half, but Castleton State sophomore Ericka Davis (Cambridge, Vt./Lamoille Union) came up big, making seven saves to keep the game knotted, including a stop in the 36th minute when she grabbed a ball by junior back Ali Maresca (Wyckoff, N.J./Ramapo) from just trickling over the line.
After Davis made two more saves early in the second half, the Judges broke through with the game-winner at the 71:06 mark. Senior forward Sofia Vallone (Weston, Conn./Staples) put a free kick from about 35 yards away on net. Davis made the initial save, but in the ensuing scramble, senior forward Tiffany Pacheco (Rehoboth, Mass./Dighton-Rehoboth) sent it across the goal mouth, where rookie reserve forward Hilary Andrews (New Bedford, Mass./Dartmouth) knocked it home for her third goal of the season and what proved to be the second game-winner of her career. The assist was the 29th of Pacheco's career, setting a new Brandeis program record.
Falling behind for the first time in the contest, CSC turned up the pressure, but Brandeis sophomore goalkeeper Francine Kofinas (Dix Hills, N.Y./Half Hollow Hills West) made two saves against CSC junior midfielder Brandy White (Springfield, Vt./Springfield), one on a corner kick and another on a free kick, to preserve the lead. Kofinas finished the game with three stops, while Davis had 11 saves for the Spartans.
In today's opening game, after a scoreless first half, Williams (13-3-2) scored twice in just under 90 seconds midway through the second to pull away from Lasell (14-4-3), winding up with a 3-0 win. The Ephs got goals from junior Brett Eisenhart (Seattle, Wash.) at 68:49 and senior midfielder Sara Wild (Portland, Ore.) at 70:27 to wrest momentum away from the Lasers. Eisenhart knocked home a slow-moving ball in front of the net for her team-leading 12th of the season, while Wild's eighth of the season was a one-time finish into the lower-right corner on a nice cross from sophomore Bridget Gallagher (Cranford, N.J.). Sophomore Kristine Nakada (Alameda, Calif.) added an insurance goal in the 84th minute to complete the win.
Tomorrow's second-round matchup will be the first-ever meeting between Brandeis and Williams.