Women’s Soccer Rallies Past NYU on Senior Day, 2-1

Seniors Megan Kessler, Kelly Peterson, Mary Shimko, Madeline Stein and Leah Sax

The Brandeis University women's soccer team celebrated senior day in style, as the Judges used free kicks by a pair of seniors to earn a come-from-behind, 2-1 victory against NYU. The Judges move to 10-6-2, 2-3-2 in the UAA, and will learn their postseason fate on Monday. The Violets fall to 7-8-3, 0-5-2 in conference play.

Kelly Peterson (Houston, Texas/Clear Lake) struck first for the Judges, finding the back of the net on a 58th-minute free kick from at least 45 yards out. The senior floated a towering ball into the box, attempting to find one of the Brandeis players up for the set piece. The ball soared over the heads of both the Brandeis strikers and the NYU keeper and into the far corner of the net for Peterson's second of the season.

The game winner was one for the highlight reel. In the 83rd minute, with the Judges desperate for a late winner, Madeline Stein (Mount Kisco, N.Y./Fox Lane) took control of a free kick about 25 yards from the Violet goal. Stein struck an absolute laser off the bottom of the crossbar and in for her first goal of the season, as well as her first-ever game-winner.

The fouls that led to both goals were drawn by junior Sapir Edalati (Great Neck, N.Y./Great Neck South).

NYU was in control for most of the half, jumping in front early in the contest. Great interplay down the left flank opened up sophomore Melissa Menta (Somers, N.Y./Somers) on the edge of the box. Her left-footed cross found junior Cami Crawford (El Dorado Hills, Calif./Oak Ridge), who lashed the ball home past senior keeper Leah Sax (Lincoln, Mass./Lincoln).

The Violets outshot Brandeis 5-3 and took both of the corners in the first 45 minutes, but NYU could not beat Sax again.

The Judges came out with a new starting 11 in the second half and quickly turned the tide, taking 13 shots to just five for the Violets.

Peterson nearly scored in similar fashion just two minutes prior to her goal. Another long-range free kick nearly found the net, but NYU rookie keeper Cassie Steinberg (Boca Raton, Fla./Spanish River) was just able to get her hand on the ball.

Steinberg was also equal to a curling effort in the 69th minute by sophomore Melissa Darling (Weymouth, Mass./Weymouth), while NYU sophomore Sofia Toohey (Planno, Texas/Plano) headed just over on a 76th-minute free kick.

Junior Michelle Savuto (Ridgewood, N.J./Ridgewood) made two stops in the second half to earn her 10th win of the season.

In a pregame ceremony before the contest, Brandeis celebrated the careers of its five senior players. Sax, Stein, Mary Shimko (Bay Village, Ohio/Lake Ridge Acad.), Peterson and Megan Kessler (Hopkinton, Mass./Hopkinton) were all honored, and all five earned the start for the Judges. Shimko has missed the last three weeks of the season with a foot injury, but was allowed to play in a great display of sportsmanship by both sides. Sophomore Holly Szafran (Newton, Mass./Newton North) played it to Shimko off of the opening kickoff, and the senior briefly controlled the ball before a teammate kicked the ball out of bounds, allowing the senior to be substituted off to a standing ovation.

The class of 2014 was a part of the Judges' 2010 and 2012 NCAA Tournament runs, including a program-best 16 wins and a trip to the Elite Eight last year. This season, the Judges were ranked as high as number 8 in the nation and number 1 in New England in the NSCAA polls.