October 14, 2011

Women's soccer knots No. 24 Chicago, 1-1, in marathon match

WALTHAM, Mass. – The Brandeis University women's soccer team battled 24th-ranked Chicago to a 1-1 draw in a match that featured a one-hour, 25-minute delay in the second half due to lightning. The Judges move to 5-7-1 overall and 0-2-1 in the University Athletic Association, earning their first league point of the season, while the Maroons fall to 6-4-2, 0-1-2.

      Brandeis wasted little time opening the scoring. Just 2:01 into the contest, senior Mimi Theodore (Walpole, Mass.) sent a ball back to the top of the box to sophomore Mary Shimko (Bay Village, Ohio/Lake Ridge Acad.). Shimko sent a high shot on net that UC senior goalkeeper Emma Gormley (Carmel, Ind./Carmel) tipped but was unable to corral, and it drifted just under the crossbar. It was Shimko's third goal of the season, a team-high.

      The Judges had a golden opportunity to extend their lead when they got off three quick shots following a ninth-minute corner kick. Senior Alanna Torre (Weston, Fla./American Heritage School) had her initial shot blocked, while classmate Ali Maresca (Wyckoff, N.J./Ramapo) was cleared off the line by a Chicago defender. Torre had the third shot in the flurry, but Gormley recovered to make a save and half the momentum. The Judges were able to keep Chicago in check the rest of the way, finishing the first half with a 9-5 shooting advantage, including 5-2 in shots on goal.

      As the rains picked up in the second half, play went back and forth. As the storm reached its peak, Chicago was able to take advantage. Senior forward Allison Hegel (Vienna, Va./Jefferson) went in on net all alone after a Brandeis defender slipped. Hegel's hard hit ball along the ground found the side netting past the dive of Brandeis junior Francine Kofinas (Dix Hills, N.Y./Half Hollow Hills West) at the 53:27 mark. It was Hegel's seventh goal of the season to lead the Maroons.

No more than 20 seconds later, lightning struck in the distance, prompting officials to halt the game. It took nearly 90 minutes before the area was clear enough to restart. UC had early momentum, as sophomore Natalia Jovanovich (Gurnee, Ill./Warren) had two early shots stopped. Gormley made a nice save in the 80th minute, tipping a ball from Judge rookie Alyssa Fenenbock (Upper Saddle River, N.J./Northern Highlands Regional) over the crossbar. Kofinas answered as time in regulation expired, coming off her line to halt a Hegel break. By the end of regulation, Chicago had closed the gap in shots to 15-14, Brandeis.

The extra sessions featured more back-and-forth play. Gormley made two saves, including another tip over the net in the 96th minute on a long Torre strike, to finish with eight. Kofinas earned one more stop and finished with six.

Brandeis is back in action Sunday at 1:30 p.m. against eighth-ranked Washington University, while UC heads to NYU to play at the same time.