Schwartz the hero as Judges women’s soccer moves to NCAA quarterfinals

Schwartz the hero as Judges women’s soccer moves to NCAA quarterfinals

WALTHAM, Mass. – The Brandeis women's soccer team have moved on to the NCAA Division III quarterfinals after beating McDaniel College 1-0 on Saturday morning at Gordon Field.

Though most of the match was a tight stalemate, forward Samantha Schwartz finally provided the breakthrough with her third goal of the post-season in the 86th minute.

The pivotal play started on the left flank with midfielder Haliana Burhans, who cut toward the penalty area and delivered a hard ball into the box that came off the left hand of Green Terror goalkeeper Sarah McDonald. Schwartz pounced on the rebound and easily buried the loose ball into the back of the net, sending the Judges into jubilation.

"In the last ten-ish minutes we're working our hardest to get forward and we're trying to create some opportunities," Schwartz said after the game. "In those final five minutes, Haliana worked her butt off to get all the way down and beat her marker. She sent in an amazing cross, I was just right there to put it away."

A crowd of 350—which also included a sizeable contingent of McDaniel supporters—watched the Judges control most of the contest.

That said, McDaniel had the game's first chance, as Green Terror defender Jessica Beall headed on a 13th minute corner kick that Judges defender Michaela Friedman had to clear off the line.

From that moment on, it was all Brandeis, though the Judges were most successful unlocking the Green Terror's back line in the second half.

In the 62nd minute, forward Lea McDaniel fired a hard drive at goal that McDonald dropped low to block. The rebound fell to Captain Cidney Moscovitch, whose low shot was cleared off the line by the Green Terror's Marissa Funke.

Defender Julia McDermott advanced up the pitch for a corner kick in the 69th minute, a temporary tactical switch that almost created the game's first goal. McDermott got the ball short off McDaniel's corner, cut past a defender and then belted a shot off the top of the crossbar.

The Green Terror finally cleared, but the Judges maintained their heavy attacking pressure, the ball falling to defender Amanda Fernbach roughly 25 yards from goal seconds later. Fernbach looked up and fired a left-footed drive that, again, clanged off the crossbar.

Though it seemed like overtime was on the cards, Brandeis were finally rewarded for continuing to control the attack. Schwartz had a feeling a breakthrough was on the way, regardless of how elusive the game's lone goal proved to be.

"I was on the bench we hit those two posts," said Schwartz. "I was like, 'oh we got that out of the way, we got both posts, now there's one that's going into the back of the goal.' I knew it was coming."

"I was ecstatic when I scored because I didn't want to go into overtime," added Schwartz. "I knew we could pull it off in regulation."

The Judges, who are now 15-3-4 on the season, will play William Smith University in the quarterfinals on Sunday, Nov. 20 at Gordon Field.

William Smith beat Amherst 4-2 on Saturday.

Brandeis coach Denise Dallamora is looking for her team to show the same spirit in the quarterfinals on Sunday.

"We're pretty happy with the win," said Dallamora. "We worked hard. We created opportunities, though it took a while to finish one. But we're really happy with the result. It was complete exhilaration when the ball went in. We always try play to play the best we can, win or lose."

-Julian Cardillo