Women's soccer team wins NCAA tourney berth

Judges set school record of 13 shutouts in 19 games

Offensive star Dara Spital (#33), shown against Roger Williams College, tied for league lead in goals scored.

For the second time in three years, the Brandeis women’s soccer team has won an at-large berth in the NCAA Division III tournament. The Judges, who finished the season with a 13-4-2 record and placed fifth in the University Athletic Association (UAA), will take on 24th-ranked Union College (15-3), an at-large selection from the Liberty League in a first-round contest at Amherst College on Nov. 10.

Host Amherst (13-1-2) will take on Lasell College (14-4-1) in another first-round match.

Game times will be 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., with the specific times for the two games to be announced. Ticket prices will also be announced when they become available.

For the Brandeis women, this the third NCAA tournament bid under head coach Denise Dallamora, the only coach in the program’s 34-year history. Their previous trips came in 1988 and 2010, when the Judges hosted a regional and advanced to the second round. Nearly half of Brandeis’s matches came against NCAA tournament teams, and the Judges posted a 5-3-1 record.

The Judges were led by a fantastic defense this season, setting a school-record with 13 shutouts in 19 contests. Goalkeepers Francine Kofinas and Michelle Savuto split time in net for Brandeis and finished second in the league with 87 saves and fourth with a 0.82 goals-against average. Kofinas, a senior, started all 19 matches, while Savuto, a sophomore, played the second half and overtime sessions. Offensively, sophomore transfer Dara Spital led the Judges in scoring with 12 goals and five assists for 29 points. She tied for the league lead in goals and was fourth in points. Spital also led the UAA and was among Division III’s leaders with seven game-winning goals this season.

Union is making its tenth NCAA Division III tournament appearance in the past 14 years. The Dutchwomen are guided by head coach Brian Speck, who has led his program to 16-straight seasons of at least 10 wins and was named to the Liberty League Co-Coaching Staff of the Year. Senior forward Jennifer Mansfield was named the Liberty League Player of the Year after finishing with 13 goals and four assists for 30 points. She had six game-winners on the campaign. Senior Kayla Marti led the Liberty League with an .874 save percentage.

All three of Union’s losses have come at the hands of Liberty League foes who made the NCAA tournament, one against Rochester Institute of Technology and two against William Smith College.

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