December 2, 2016

Washington U. win 2-1, return to women's title match

Cover photo credit: Dave Hilbert, d3photography.com

Other Semifinal Recaps:  Women's Semifinal 1 Men's Semifinal 1 | Semifinal 2
Dave Hilbert, d3photography.com

After their opening tally was cancelled by Brandeis for a 1-1 halftime score, Washington U. reestablished a one-goal advantage early in the second half on Katie Chandler's second goal of the night and this time they did not left Brandeis back into the game. The 2-1 win puts the Bears back in the title game for the second straight season.

First Half

When the Judges and the Bears met in the regular season, Washington U. dominated play statistically and prevailed 2-0 on the scoreboard. When your keeper sets a school record for saves, it is generally not a good day. At the start of the match the Bears maintained this high level of play as they spent most of the first five minutes in the attacking half. In the sixth minute, Katie Chandler showed her All-American form as a brilliant back heel from Taylor Cohen sprung her free for a one-on-one chance versus the Brandeis keeper. She finished with a twenty-yard blast finding home just inside the right post. 

Despite likely having the regular season match in the back of their minds, the Judges responded courageously. They settled in and began to possess much more of the ball. For the next twenty minutes or so they put the Bears’ defense under escalating pressure. In the 16th minute they created an anxious moment for the Wash U. supporters when a direct kick led to several bounces inside the 18.

Brandeis’ Cidney Moscovich created havoc on the left side which culminated in the equalizer when she took her defender 1-v-1 and sent a brilliant cross through the six-yard box. A wide open Haliana Burhans comfortably put it past Bear’s keeper Lizzy Crist. It was the first concession by Wash U. in nearly 1,000 minutes since a late goal by Emory on October 8 eleven matches ago.

Brandeis stayed on the front foot and kept the Wash U. defense under pressure. Lea McDaniel nearly put the Judges on top with 16 minutes left in the half, pushing a half volley just wide and Jessica Morana generated another good chance in the 33rd minute.

Wash U. did not generate much in the way of serious threats after their early goal. Their physical play did result in 11 fouls with two cautions in the first half but Brandeis did not seem to be adversely affected.

Wash U. used their substitutes considerably more as nine players came off the bench for a total of 89 minutes while Brandeis made only four substitutions totaling 35 minutes. Would fresher legs show up late in the match for Wash U.?.

Second Half

The second half opened like the first with the Bears on the front foot. They struck quickly when Maggie Crist made a 70 yard run on the dribble from the top of Wash U.’s defensive third to the Brandies’ 18 and earned a corner kick. The Judges’ goalkeeper punched a good service but could not clear the ball out. The ball deflected off a Wash U. player to Katie Chandler who finished to the near upper 90 from six yards out.

Unlike the first half where Brandeis immediately responded to Wash U.’s first goal by taking control of play, this time Wash U. kept the pressure on Brandeis. With Wash U. pressing hard, Brandeis was unable to clear past the halfway line until the 55th minute.

Finally at 55:30 the Judges were able to muster some possession and move into Wash U. defensive territory. For the next twenty minutes play was mostly midfield oriented and neither side was able to create much in the way of solid chances. Finally, the Judges earned an opportunity from a corner kick but the service went harmlessly into the side of the net. 

Brandeis was sending numbers forward and taking the attack to Wash U. With several substitutes on the pitch the Bears were unable to create any meaningful threats off counter attacks. The Judges had a couple of dangerous opportunities as the match entered the final twenty minutes. Samantha Schwartz was briefly alone in the box and couldn’t quite corral a pretty cross from Burhans. With seventeen minutes remaining Burhans sent in another solid cross that Crist was able to capture right at the near post. 

The Wash U. starters cycled back into the match with 10 minutes left. Fresh legs allowed the Bears to take control for the rest of the match and they had two dangerous opportunities. On the first Grossman did well coming off her line to stop a dangerous insurance goal opportunity. Two minutes later Wash U. had another solid chance off a corner. The Bears kept the Judges bottled up in the Brandeis defensive side of the pitch and the Judges were unable to threaten in the final ten minutes.

 

Brandeis finishes their most successful season in program history at 16-4-4. Washington U. improves to 18-2-3 and reaches the championship match for the second consecutive season. They will again meet Messiah who they advanced past in the Final Four last year when Lizzy Christ, 2015 D3Soccer.com Goalkeeper of the Year, stopped three Falcon kicks to secure a 3-2 shootout win.

Other Semifinal Recaps:  Women's Semifinal 1 Men's Semifinal 1 | Semifinal 2
No contests today.
No contests today.
No contests today.