LEWISTON, Maine -- Dara Spital scored with 1:42 left in the first half to send No. 12 nationally ranked Brandeis to a 1-0 non-conference women's soccer victory over Bates College on Friday night under the lights at Garcelon Field.
Brandeis, ranked 12th in Division III and second in New England, raised its record to 7-1-0 on the season. All seven of their wins this season have been shutouts. Bates dipped to 1-4-0 despite playing one of its better games in the young season.
Both sides threatened the other with excellent goal-scoring chances throughout an evenly and well-played first half. For Brandeis, Holly Szafran nearly scored off of a corner kick in the opening minute, and Spital challenged Bates junior goalkeeper Anabel Schmelz (Monmouth Beach, N.J.) on three excellent attempts, and #10 Alec Spivack sent Schmelz diving to deflect the ball out of harm's way. For Bates, sophomore Dakota Donovan (Marblehead, Mass.) had a clear shot that was cut off by well-positioned Brandeis goalkeeper Francine Kofinas. Nicki Brill's header sailed over the crossbar, and on another occasion Brill's well-struck cross was nearly knocked in by junior Jaimie Cappucci (Saugus, Mass.), but the ball sailed inches away from her reach.
With 1:42 left in the opening half, Alyssa Fenenbock chipped a ball from 45 yards out toward the top of the Bates penalty area. The ball skittered behind Bates' defense and Spital was the first to track it down, and she sent her team-high seventh goal past Schmelz for the 1-0 lead.
The back-and-forth nature of the game extended into its full duration, and Bates thought momentarily it had tied the contest. With 31 minutes left, Camille Smith's free kick from 35 yards out was bobbled by Brandeis keeper Michelle Savuto. The ball appeared to have possibly cleared the plane of the goal line, but Savuto quickly turned and reached back to snatch the ball away from the waiting net. The official deemed that the ball hadn't completely crossed the plane of the goal line, and play was continued.
Bates put on a major threat again with 16 minutes to go, when sophomore Krista Prouty (Norwell, Mass.) took advantage of a misplay to get into a breakaway. She tipped the ball away from another Judge to free up her right foot for a clear shot, which caromed straight off of the right (far) post and back to her. She passed in the falt to Donovan, but Brandeis's defense regrouped in time prevent any more shots.
Schmelz finished the game with eight saves; Kofinas made four saves in the first half, and Savuto made two saves in the second half on a combined shutout.
Bates will play at Hamilton in a NESCAC match on Sept. 29 at 11am.