AMHERST, MA - The Western Connecticut State University women's soccer team allowed only a single first-half goal in its opening round NCAA tournament game against Brandeis University, but the Colonial offense failed to answer, ending Western's season with 1-0 loss Saturday afternoon at Amherst College.
Brandeis got off to a fast start early in the first half of play, taking five shots and earning three corner kicks before senior Kelsey Chacho (Plainville, CT) took the first shot of the game for Western after 23 minutes had been played.
At the 24:28 mark of the first half, junior Lea McDaniel (Phoenix, AZ) scored the game's only goal when she took a pass from junior Cidney Moscovitch (Coral Springs, FL) and connected on a shot that squeezed just past the diving Western keeper, giving Brandeis a 1-0 lead.
At halftime, Brandeis held a 12-2 advantage in shots, 3-0 in corner kicks, and most importantly, 1-0 on the scoreboard.
In the second half, Western's offense became more aggressive as the Colonials worked to score the equalizer.
Western's best scoring chance of the game came fifteen minutes into the second half when Chacho moved the ball down left side of the Brandeis defense and delivered a centering pass the sophomore Andrea DeVoe (Farmington, CT). DeVoe's blast seemed headed for the top right corner of the goal, but the Brandeis keeper timed her leap perfectly to make the save and keep Western scoreless.
With just over one minute remaining in the game, junior Emily Newhard (Wallingford, CT) connected on a header as Western made a last ditch effort to send the game to overtime, but the shot sailed just wide of the cage, giving Brandeis a 1-0 final margin of victory.
For the game, Brandeis finished with a 27-8 advantage in shots, as well as a 6-3 edge in corner kicks. Western's keeper, sophomore Jillian Fernandez (Columbia, CT), had a heroic effort in goal finishing with 17 saves, but suffers the loss for the Colonials. Junior Alexis Grossman (Syosset, NY) had four saves in goal to earn the victory for Brandeis.
With the loss, Western's 2015 season ends with a 16-6-1 record. Brandeis improves to 15-2-3 and advances to play Amherst College on Sunday in the second round of the NCAA tournament.