Sunday, Schwartz lead #18 women to road rally at ECSU, 4-2

Samantha Schwartz '18 (photo by Mike Tureski / Sportspix)
Samantha Schwartz '18 (photo by Mike Tureski / Sportspix)

MANSFIELD, Conn. (taken from an ECSU press release) The Brandeis University women's soccer team, ranked 18th in the most recent national Division III poll, scored three second-half goals to erase an early deficit and record a 4-2 non-conference women's soccer victory over Eastern Connecticut State University Wednesday night at the Mansfield Outdoor Complex.

Coming off a berth in last year's NCAA Division III Final Four, Brandeis (4-1-0) won its fourth straight after spotting Eastern (1-3-2) a 2-1 lead with 20 minutes left in the first half. While holding the Warriors scoreless the rest of the way, Brandeis tied the match at 2-2 16 minutes into the second half on a goal from junior Hannah Maatallah (Wilton, Conn./Wilton), then scored the go-ahead and insurance goals in a span of 14 minutes on strikes from junior Sasha Sunday (Bethlehem, Pa./Allentown Central Catholic) with 22 minutes left and senior Samantha Schwartz (Highland Park, Ill./Highland Park), who also had tied the match at 1-all midway through the second half, with eight minutes left.

The goal for Sunday was her third-straight game-winner for the Judges, while her assist was her team-leading third. She leads the Judges with nine points.

Schwartz's two scores made for her fourth career multi-goal game. She became the 13th player in school history with 25 career goals and moved into 14th on the career scoring list with 59 points.

The teams scored the first three goals of the match in a span of less than seven minutes. The Warriors, winless in their last five (0-3-2), led twice in the game, scoring first with 18 minutes gone on Abbey Fitzsimmons' header, and after Schwartz tied it a minute later on a goal from in close, Eastern took its last lead at 2-1 on a 22-yard bomb by Aly Clarke with 20 minutes left in the half.

Eastern's 2-1 lead stood up through the early going of the second half. Eastern sidestepped a potent Brandeis bid nine minutes into the second half when defender Michele D'Agata cleared a shot off the back line that originated from the left side. Seven minutes later, however, Maatallah (who assisted on Schwartz' first goal) tied it when she took a short feed from the left side from Sunday and lofted it over the head of Eastern keeper Kayla Labrecque.

Sunday's volley from the right side of the box on a crossing pass from Haliana Burhans (Charlotte, Vt./Champlain Valley Union) finally put the Judges in front with 22 minutes left, and Schwartz' second goal with eight minutes left put the game away. Schwartz scored at the near post on a pass into the box from Julia Matson (Rockland, Mass./Rockland) that Eastern was unable to clear.

Brandeis outshot Eastern, 17-9. Labrecque made five saves and sophomore Sierra Dana (Lombard, Ill./Glenbard East) three - including a penalty kick - for the Judges.

Brandeis wraps up a string of five of their first six matches on the road Saturday at Johnson and Wales University.