MANSFIELD, Conn. – Ranked fifth in New England, Brandeis University scored three second-half goal to erase an early one-goal deficit and record a 4-2 non-conference women's soccer victory over Eastern Connecticut State University Wednesday night at the Mansfield Outdoor Complex.
Coming off a berth in last year's NCAA Division III Final Four, Brandeis (4-1-0) won its fourth straight after spotting Eastern (1-3-2) a 2-1 lead with 20 minutes left in the first half. While holding the Warriors scoreless the rest of the way, Brandeis tied the match at 2-2 16 minutes into the second half on a goal from Hannah Maatallah, then scored the go-ahead and insurance goals in a span of 14 minutes on strikes from Sasha Sunday with 22 minutes left and Samantha Schwartz, who also had tied the match at 1-all midway through the second half, with eight minutes left.
The teams scored the first three goals of the match in a span of less than seven minutes. The Warriors, winless in their last five (0-3-2), led twice in the game, scoring first with 18 minutes gone on sophomore back Abbey Fitzsimmons' (West Hartford) header, and after Schwartz tied it a minute later on a goal from in close, Eastern took its last lead at 2-1 on a 22-yard bomb by junior midfielder Aly Clarke (Mystic) with 20 minutes left in the half.
Eastern's 2-1 lead stood up through the early going of the second half. Eastern sidestepped a potent Brandeis bid nine minutes into the second half when senior defender Michele D'Agata (West Suffield) cleared a shot off the back line that originated from the left side. Seven minutes later, however, Maatallah (who assisted on Schwartz' first goal) tied it when she took a short feed from the left side from Sunday and lofted it over the head of Eastern junior keeper Kayla Labrecque (Westhampton, MA).
Sunday's volley from the right side of the box on a crossing pass from Haliana Burhans finally put the Judges in front with 22 minutes left, and Schwartz' second goal with eight minutes left put the game away. Schwartz scored at the near post on a pass into the box from Julia Matson that Eastern was unable to clear.
Brandeis outshot Eastern, 17-9. Labrecque made five saves and Sierra Dana three for the winners.
Eastern visits Rhode Island College Saturday at 1 p.m. in its Little East Conference opener.