Men win ECAC soccer title; women defeated in NCAA match

Both soccer teams had highly successful seasons; senior women best in school history

The Brandeis men's soccer team won  the Eastern College Athletic Conference New England Division III tournament title Sunday with a 4-2 win over Western New England College. It was the third ECAC crown in program history

The women's team  concluded one of the most successful seasons in school history with a difficult loss to Williams in the second round of the NCAA Division III tournament.

Behind the stellar goalkeeping of tournament most-valuable-player Taylor Bracken of North Andover, Mass., the fourth-seeded Brandeis men upended second-seeded Western New England College on the Golden Bears' home turf to capture the ECAC title.

Brandeis scored twice in each half to take the win. Rookie forward Kyle Feather of Pinebrook, N.J., scored his second goal in as many games and his fourth of the season in the 11th minute to start the scoring. Feather headed home a free kick by senior midfielder Kyle Gross of Medway, Mass. The Judges doubled the lead in the 23d minute on an unassisted goal by sophomore midfielder Joe Eisenbies of Hingham, Mass, also his second of the tournament.

The shots were even in the first half, 7-7, but Bracken made five stops to keep the Golden Bears off the board.

In the second half, senior forward Steve Keuchkarian of Watertown, Mass., scored just 3:48 into the stanza on a penalty kick for what would prove to be the game-winner. Seven minutes later, sophomore midfielder Lee Russo of Westford, Mass. notched his team-leading 10th goal of the season on an assist from Feather. It was also Russo's fifth goal of the tournament.

Western New England College finally got on the board in the 74th minute on a free kick by Corey Howard that was converted by Justin Martins after a redirect by John Stather. Stather also converted a penalty kick at the 84:20 mark against Brandeis reserve goalkeeper Matt Lynch of Weymouth, Mass., to round out the scoring.

Brandeis finished the game with a 15-13 shot advantage, but Bracken and Lynch combined for seven saves to claim the win. Bracken earned his MVP honor by making 13 saves and allowing only one goal in just over 230 minutes in net in the tournament.

Brandeis, which closed the season with a record of 12-7-1, claimed their third ECAC Tournament crown, to go with wins in 1994 and 2006. The Judges have now won six straight ECAC tournament games.

On the women's side, Brandeis could not keep up its momentum from the program's first-ever NCAA tournament victory, falling to Williams, 6-0. The Judges, who are ranked 23rd nationally, could not contain No. 9 Williams' senior forward Sara Wild, who scored four times to lead the Ephs in the second round of the 2010 NCAA Division III women's tournament.

Wild set the tone for the game early, scoring just 3:30 into the contest. She doubled the lead 20 minutes later, into a wide open net from the top of the six-yard box.

Brandeis was able to settle the Williams attack down for a bit over the next 10 minutes, generating shots on goal by senior Sofia Vallone of Westport, Conn., and junior midfielder Alanna Torre of Weston, Fla., but the Judges could not get anything past the Eph goalkeeper.

Wild added two more goals in the second half, converting a penalty kick in the 55th minute and a free kick less than four minutes later from just outside the 18 yard box. The visitors added two more late goals for the final tally. In net, Brandeis sophomore Francine Kofinas of Dix Hills, N.Y., and rookie Leah Sax of Lincoln, Mass., made two saves each.

For the Judges, the class of 2011, made up of Vallone, along with forward Tiffany Pacheco of Rehoboth, Mass.; midfielder Ellie Einhorn of Winter Park, Fla., and back Taryn Martiniello of Wilmington, Mass., concluded their careers with 51 victories, more than any other senior class in Brandeis women's soccer history. They won two ECAC titles and registered the program's first-ever NCAA tournament victory. Pacheco graduates as the school's all-time assist leader with 29, while Vallone tied the single-season goal record with 17 this year.

Categories: Athletics, Student Life

Return to the BrandeisNOW homepage