LEWISTON, Maine – Rookie transfer forward Dara Spital (Miami, Fla./ Gulliver Prep) scored with 1:42 left in the first half to send No. 24 nationally ranked Brandeis to a 1-0 non-conference women's soccer victory over Bates College on Friday night under the lights at Garcelon Field.
Brandeis raised its record to 7-1-0 on the season. All seven of their wins this season have been shutouts. Bates dipped to 1-4-0 despite playing one of its better games this year.
Both sides threatened the other with excellent goal-scoring chances throughout an evenly and well-played first half. For Brandeis, rookie midfielder Holly Szafran (Newton, Mass./ Newton North) nearly scored off of a corner kick in the opening minute, and Spital challenged Bates goalkeeper Anabel Schmelz on three excellent attempts. Sophomore midfielder Alec Spivack (Miami, Fla./ Miami Palmetto Senior) also sent Schmelz diving to deflect the ball out of harm's way. For Bates, Dakota Donovan had a clear shot that was cut off by well-positioned Brandeis senior goalkeeper Francine Kofinas (Dix Hills, N.Y./ Half Hollow Hills West). Nicki Brill's header sailed over the crossbar, and on another occasion Brill's well-struck cross was nearly knocked in by Jaimie Cappucci, but the ball sailed inches away from her reach.
With 1:42 left in the opening half, sophomore midfielder Alyssa Fenenbock (Upper Saddle River, N.J./ Northern Highlands Reg.) chipped a ball from 45 yards out toward the top of the Bates penalty area. The ball skittered behind Bates' defense and Spital was the first to track it down. She did not miss the opportunity and sent her team-high seventh goal past Schmelz for the 1-0 lead.
The back-and-forth nature of the game extended to its full duration, and Bates thought momentarily it had tied the contest. With 31 minutes left, Camille Smith's free kick from 35 yards out was bobbled by Brandeis sophomore keeper Michelle Savuto (Ridgewood, N.J./ Ridgewood). The ball appeared to have possibly cleared the plane of the goal line, but Savuto quickly turned and reached back to snatch the ball away from the waiting net. The official deemed that the ball hadn't completely crossed the plane of the goal line, and play was continued.
Kofinas made four saves in the first half, and Savuto made two saves in the second half on a combined shutout. Their counterpart Schmelz finished the game with eight saves
Brandeis next plays at Wellesley on Monday at 4:30pm. Bates will play at Hamilton in a NESCAC match on Sept. 29 at 11am.