Brandeis Women's Soccer Breaks School Shutout Record while Blanking Top-Ranked Emory in a 0-0 2OT Draw

Francine Kofinas '13 and Michelle Savuto '15 (photos by sportspix.biz)

WALTHAM, Mass.- Behind a stout defense and some strong offensive play, the Brandeis Women's Soccer team played to a 0-0 2OT draw against the 1st-ranked Emory Eagles in UAA action on Gordon Field and, in the process, broke the school record for shutouts in a season (12) while holding Emory without a goal for the first time this year. Despite being outshot 22-9, the Judges' defense held strong and great counterattacks from sophomore forward Dara Spital (Miami, Fla./ Gulliver Prep) and senior midfielder Mary Shimko (Bay Village, Ohio/ Lake Ridge Acad.) kept the Eagles' honest on their defensive end. Brandeis moves to 12-3-2 (1-2-2 UAA) while Emory goes to 11-0-5 (3-0-2 UAA).

In the first half, the Judges looked a little sluggish as the Eagles controlled the midfield and gained an 8-0 advantage in shots and 4-0 edge in corner kicks. However, a defense anchored by junior Kelly Peterson (Houston, Texas/ Clearwater) held Emory off the board with blocked shot after blocked shot while senior keeper Francine Kofinas (Dix Hills, N.Y./ Half Hollow Hills West) made the save she needed to to ensure a scoreless period.

In the second half, the match became much more even with Brandeis finally breaking through and gaining scoring chances as they earned four shots to Emory's seven. In the 64th minute, Spital earned one of the Judges' best chances of the evening when she was fouled trying to get past an Emory defender just outside the box. Unfortunately, the Eagles' wall held as Spital's free kick bounced harmlessly off the wall and out of danger. Brandeis also earned two corner kicks in the 65th and 87th minutes but could not convert. On the other side of the ball, sophomore goalie Michelle Savuto (Ridgewood, N.J./ Ridgewood) stymied Emory's attack with four second period saves as she earned the tie for playing the second half and both overtime periods.

In the overtime periods, each side had their chances with three shots apiece in the first period and a slight 4-3 edge for Emory in the final period. The Eagles managed to dominate play for short bursts of time, earning three corner kicks in each period. Still, the Judges' did not concede despite some scary moments. Meanwhile, Shimko provided two long-range efforts, one in the 91st minute and one in the 99th. In the 91st, Shimko broke away from her mark and streaked towards goal before rocketing a shot that went high and wide. In the 99th, she had another go at a shot from distance but Emory's netminder was there to make the play. Finally, in the second overtime period, Spital nearly scored the winning goal when a ball was lofted from the midfield towards the box in the 107th minute. Spital and the Eagles' keeper sprinted towards the bouncing ball with the keeper just beating her to the ball and clearing it away. Spital finished with a team-high four shots while Savuto finished with a match-high four saves. Emory's senior goalie Kaele Leonard (Elmhurst, Ill./ York Community) earned the tie for her side with two saves.

Brandeis continues their season with their final home match of the year on Sunday October 28th against UAA rival and 21st-ranked Carnegie Mellon at 11:00 a.m. The Eagles also play on Sunday at 11:00 a.m. but they remain on the road to face NYU.