Athletic Department reviews the highlights of 2011-12
The year in review: Accolades on the field and in the classroom
The fall was bright, as the women’s soccer and men’s cross country teams earned early-season national rankings. Women’s soccer peaked at No. 18 after a 2-0 start that included a revenge win over MIT on Sept. 3, while men’s cross country reached No. 29 on the strength of a second-place finish at UMass Dartmouth on Sept. 17. While momentum waned, the Judges still found success on the cross-country courses and on the soccer pitch.
The cross country teams were bolstered by three outstanding seniors. For the men, Chris Brown ’12 and Marc Boutin ’12 each earned All-New England Division III honors for the fourth year in a row. Classmate Kate Warwick ’12 placed 14th at the regional championships and earned her first career berth at the NCAA championships. Warwick placed 48th at nationals, coming up about 12 seconds shy of All-America honors.
On the soccer field, the Brandeis men won their second-consecutive Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Division III title. Mike Coven, in his 39th year as coach, guided the Judges to their best season in more than 15 years with a 15-5-1 record.
Brandeis finished seventh in Division III nationally in the number of times it shut out opponents and eighth in goals-against allowed per game. The Judges were among the top 40 in scoring offense, total goals and total assists and save percentage. Junior defensive midfielder Joe Eisenbies was named Most Outstanding Player in the Eastern College Athletic Conference tournament.
Comebacks and upsets ruled the winter season.
The biggest comeback took place on Jan. 21 and featured the entire Brandeis community. That’s the date the Joseph M. Linsey Sports Center reopened after nearly four years during which the campus was without a pool. Linsey will once again host intercollegiate meets in 2012-13 under new head coach Mike Kotch.
Current varsity programs provided rallies as well. Sophomore foil fencer Julian Cardillo kept alive his hope to be a four-time NCAA championship qualifier by placing 10th at the regional meet. He fenced well enough to claim one of two at-large berths to the NCAAs, where he finished 19th overall. Junior Mike Zook, an epee fencer, may have had Brandeis’ most impressive finish of the year, coming out of the 33rd seed position to reach the final pool of 12. He was unable to overcome his low seeding to grab the berth at nationals. Zoe Messinger, who was 11th in the women’s saber at the regional meet, also came up just short.
For the indoor track and field season, the senior duo of Brown and Warwick joined Cardillo as NCAA qualifiers. After winning University Athletic Association crowns in the mile and the 3,000-meter run, respectively, both went to the Division III championships at Grinnell College in Iowa. Warwick placed 12th in the 5K to finish about 35 seconds short of All-America honors, while Brown claimed his first career All-America honor in the mile. He won his heat in the preliminaries with a temporary Grinnell facility record, then third place in the finals with a time of 4:11.24.
In basketball, Brandeis teams didn’t have the season-long success they have been used to in recent years. There was no postseason for the Judges’ cagers for the first time since 2002-03 – but that didn’t mean there weren’t exciting contests. The men pulled two upsets of nationally-ranked squads, defeating No. 2 Amherst and No. 24 Washington University at Red Auerbach Arena. The Judges led the second-ranked Lord Jeffs for the entire second half thanks to sophomore Ben Bartoldus’s career-high 23 points, while four different players scored in double figures against the Bears to put their UAA conference title on hold. Senior Tyrone Hughes achieved a program first during the season, hitting a buzzer-beating shot to force overtime against Chicago and finishing with Brandeis’s first-ever triple-double with 17 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists.
The spring season saw historic performances on several fronts. The Judges had two more competitors selected to NCAA championships, two UAA Rookies of the Year and another ECAC Tournament top seed.
For the third time in the past five seasons, coach Jessica Johnson guided the softball squad to home field advantage in the ECAC tournament with the top seed. The Judges battled through the consolation bracket and forced a decisive third game of the tournament against Endicott College, but ultimately came up just short against the Gulls, 7-6. Senior Caroline Miller, who started all six games for the Judges in the tournament, was outstanding, allowing just nine earned runs in 30 innings, striking out 42 hitters and walking just three. In three of her four wins, Miller had 10 or more strikeouts and three or fewer hits allowed. Outfielder Amanda Genovese, who took home UAA Rookie of the Year honors, continued her fine play into the postseason, where she hit .591 (13-22) with five stolen bases and seven runs scored.
The women’s tennis team entered the spring portion of its schedule without a national ranking, but the Judges reached as high as 19th, thanks to a 5-0 trip to the West Coast over February break that saw coach Ben Lamanna’s squad upend two other nationally-ranked teams. Brandeis finished the season with a 15-5 record, the most wins in a season since 1980-81. All but one of the eight players who started regularly in singles and doubles are back in 2012-13, including No. 1 singles and doubles player Carley Cooke ’15, who claimed UAA Rookie of the Year honors and became the third Brandeis woman since 2003 to earn a berth at the NCAA Division III individual championship. Cooke and junior Faith Broderick were also selected as alternates for the Division III doubles tournament.
When the track and field teams moved to their outdoor season, Warwick claimed another UAA title in the 10,000-meter run. Brown made it to his fifth career national championship, earning New England Division III Runner of the Year honors in the process. Brown doubled at the UAA championship meet, winning the 800- and 1,500-meter runs. He posted a top-10 time in the nation in the 800, but it was the 1,500 where he truly made his mark. On May 13, at the New Balance Twilight Meet at Bentley College, Brown set a school record in the “metric mile” with a time of 3:43.39, eclipsing the mark established by inaugural Hall of Famer Mark Beeman ’85 nearly 30 years ago. Brown’s time was the best in Division III this season and the sixth-fastest of all time. At the NCAA championships in Claremont, California, Brown finished fourth in his final career race to earn his second All-America honor of 2012. After falling to the back of the pack on the last lap, his charge to the front fell just short, about a second behind the eventual winner.
While the Brandeis baseball team had one of its toughest seasons in program history, the New England Intercollegiate Baseball Association (NEIBA) honored senior second baseman Sean O’Hare with a spot in its annual College All-Star game, and recognized assistant coach Brian Lambert ’98 with its Kevin Burr Assistant Coach Award, presented each year to an active New England assistant coach who exhibits integrity and dedication to the game of college baseball.
Brandeis athletes also produced a pair of honorees for work in the classroom.
Senior Marianne Specker of the softball team was named a first-team Capital One Academic All-American for the second year in a row, the sixth Brandeis student-athlete with two Academic All-America honors and the first to earn first-team accolades both times. Classmate Ezra Bernstein of the tennis team was an Academic All-District selection.