Spital leads women past NYU, 3-0, as Judges wrap regular season at 13-4-2

Dara Spital '15 (Photo by Sportspix.biz)
Dara Spital '15 (Photo by Sportspix.biz)

NEW YORK, N.Y. -- The Brandeis University women's soccer rode two first-half goals from sophomore Dara Spital (Miami, Fla./Gulliver Prep), while senior goalkeeper Francine Kofinas (Dix Hills, N.Y./Half Hollow Hills West) made a season-high five saves in the first 45 minutes as the Judges defeated host NYU, 3-0, at Gaelic Park in Riverdale in the final match of the regular season for both teams. With the win, the Judges finish with a 13-4-2 record, 2-3-2 in the University Athletic Association, good for fifth place. The Violets fall to 10-7-1, 2-4-1 UAA, and place sixth in the league. 

Spital gave the Judges all the offense they would need just 5:56 into the contest. She collected the ball in the middle of the field, dribbled past the defense to her left and fired a rocket into the right of the net. It was Spital's 11th goal of the season and would prove to be her seventh game-winner, tops in the UAA and tied for fifth in Division III. 

The Judges kept the pressure on NYU goalkeeper Meg Patten over the next 20 minutes, getting off seven of the eight shots in that span, before Spital broke through again at 24:13. Junior midfielder Mary Shimko (Bay Village, Ohio/Lake Ridge Acad.) played a bouncing ball into the box, and Spital was able to deflect it off the right post and in for the insurance goal. The multi-goal game was Spital's third of the season, but first since early September. The assist was Shimko's second of the campaign. 

Kofinas did her part to preserve the shutout in the latter stages of the first half, making three of her five stops in the final five minutes. She stopped NYU's Serra Tumay in the 43rd minutes and denied Amelia Hammerl and Leslie Smith in the final 35 seconds before the whistle. Sophomore Michelle Savuto (Ridgewood, N.J./Ridgewood) continued the strong net play with an early save on Hammerl just 52 seconds into the second half. Savuto went on to make two more stops on the Violets as the Judges finished one shy of their season-high with eight saves. The combined shutout was the 13th of the season for the Judges, extending the program's single-season record. 

Brandeis added a final tally with just 1.9 seconds left in regulation, when senior Zoe Siegel's (Erie, Pa./McDowell) corner kick was tapped from junior Megan Kessler (Hopkinton, Mass./Hopkinton) to rookie back Haley Schachter (West Barnstable, Mass./West Barnstable), who tapped it home for her first collegiate goal. 

Brandeis, which was ranked sixth in New England in the last NCAA Division III Regional rankings, will learn their postseason fate on Monday afternoon. The Judges will hope for a Pool C at-large berth after going 4-4-1 against other regionally-ranked teams this season.