Women's Soccer: In Early Showdown of Ranked Teams, Judges Level Warriors

Despite the lopsided final score, junior keeper Kaley Kennedy (1) was up to the task in the most important start of her ten-game career Tuesday night against nationally-ranked Brandeis University. Kennedy made six saves and allowed only one goal before leaving the match on the short end of a 1-0 score with ten minutes left in the first half.
Despite the lopsided final score, junior keeper Kaley Kennedy (1) was up to the task in the most important start of her ten-game career Tuesday night against nationally-ranked Brandeis University. Kennedy made six saves and allowed only one goal before leaving the match on the short end of a 1-0 score with ten minutes left in the first half.

WALTHAM, Mass. – What a difference 23 years make.

 In the resumption of a rivalry after a 23-year hiatus, the Brandeis University women's soccer team defeated Eastern Connecticut State University for the first time after losing three and tying one in the first four games of this series with an emphatic 5-0 non-conference victory Tuesday night at Gordon Field.

Brandeis (6-0-0) broke a scoreless opening 30 minutes with three goals off rebounds in eight minutes and rolled over the Warriors in a match featuring two of New England's top-ranked teams.

Ranked third in New England and No. 13 in Division III, Brandeis has outscored its opponent 21-0 this year, with senior keeper Alexis Grossman notching her fourth full shutout and keeping her goals-against average and save percentage perfect. She needed only four saves as the Judges piled up a 33-6 advantage in shots (20-1 in the first half).

Senior Lea McDaniel equaled her entire 2015 total with her team-leading eighth goal of the season to give Brandeis the lead in the 31st minute, and junior Samantha Schwartz and sophomore Hannah Maatallah scored one minute and 20 seconds apart soon after to make it 3-0 by the half.

Ranked fourth in New England, Eastern (3-1-0) had allowed only one goal through its first three matches. Junior Kaley Kennedy (Enfield), sophomore Kayla LaBrecque (Westhampton, MA) and freshman Sarah Fahey (Auburn, MA) combined for 11 saves in net for Eastern. Kennedy left the game with an injury after making six saves and giving up only one goal through the first 35 minutes. Fahey played an uneventful final 3:27 in her debut.

Brandeis won two NCAA tournament games last year – advancing to the round of 16 – and finishing 15-3-4.

The first three games of this series, which began in 1989, extended into overtime, with the Warriors winning two and tying the third. After a 4-3 win in the first game, Eastern had shut out the Judges in the last three meetings, two of the contests ending 1-0.

Eastern visits the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth in its Little East Conference opener Saturday at 5 p.m. The Warriors, who won all seven of last year's LEC regular-season matches en route to their sixth LEC regular-season title in the last 13 years, have won the last five in a row over UMass and bring a 20-game (19-0-1) unbeaten streak against the Corsairs into action.