ITHACA, N.Y. – Sophomore Dara Spital posted back-to-back goals to lead Brandeis (16-4-2) past Cortland (12-5-6) on Saturday afternoon in the NCAA Round of 16 at Ithaca’s Carp Wood Field. Brandeis will advance to the quarterfinals for the first time in school history.
Brandeis and Cortland were deadlocked 11-11 in shots with Brandeis holding a two-shot advantage in the first half and Cortland owning a two-shot gap in the second. Cortland tallied five corner kicks to the Judges’ one.
Spital struck twice early for Brandeis. The Judges held a 2-0 lead until the 89th minute when Cortland’s Kelly Knight netted a goal on a Matison Williams assist.
Spital converted her first on the fourth of four consecutive Brandeis shots. She collected a blocked ball and shot into the bottom right corner of goal for the 1-0 gap at 12:46. Mary Shimko fed a cross ball to Spital in the 25th minute. Spital headed the shot high of Cortland goalkeeper Talor Hudson’s reach to claim the 2-0 lead.
One shot was taken in the final 20 minutes of the first frame as the Judges maintained a 2-0 advantage at intermission.
In the 53rd minute, Cortland’s Abby Williams dribbled through the Brandeis defense and shot at a charging Brandeis goalie, Michelle Savuto, who made the save. Williams found herself on a breakaway just minutes later but again laced her shot at the keeper for a save.
At 60:57 Spital looked to secure a hat trick on the day firing a shot from 20 yards out. The shot flew just high of the crossbar as the 2-0 lead remained intact.
Brandeis put a shot on goal in the 70th minute as Shimko placed a direct kick at Savuto who swatted the shot high of the crossbar for one of her four saves.
The Red Dragons took four of the next five shots en route to a 2-1 final score. With four seconds lingering in regulation, Cortland’s Rachel Parker placed a shot on goal, but Savuto made the stop to preserve the victory.
Hudson recorded four saves in goal for the Red Dragons.
In their third NCAA tournament appearance, Brandeis ousted Cortland from their 12th trip to the NCAA postseason.