Carroll County Times
Carroll County Sports

Women's Soccer: Green Terror's NCAA tourney run halted

WALTHAM, Mass. — McDaniel College's historic run to the NCAA Division III Tournament's Sweet 16 was halted deep into the second half Saturday at Brandeis University's Gordon Field.

Brandeis midfielder Haliana Burhans swept down the left sideline, made a quick cut and sent a crisp pass into the box that glanced off the hand of diving junior goalkeeper Sarah McDonald.


Judges forward Samantha Schwartz buried the rebound with space to spare. There was 3:26 remaining in regulation and the Green Terror, who tallied seven goals in their first two tournament games, never recovered and never scored, losing 1-0.

"We did a better job of playing more physically and keeping the ball at the beginning of the second half. I think we adjusted to being on an even bigger stage than last weekend,'' said McDaniel coach Sandy Lagana. "But in the end, hats off to Brandeis."


The Green Terror finished with an 18-3-1 record, set a single-season record for victories, and also won the first two NCAA Tournament games in program history. McDaniel dispatched Farmingdale State 4-1 and defeated Connecticut College 3-1 to reach the Sweet 16.

There was no such offensive display Saturday. McDaniel was outshot 10-5 (including 8-2 in the second half, despite the early surge) and had temporarily survived back to back Brandeis shots that deflected off the crossbar in rapid succession in the 68th minute.

That pressure led to seven corner kicks for Brandeis (15-3-4) who will play William Smith (21-0), a 4-2 winner against Amherst (17-3-1), in Sunday's other quarterfinal.

Yet, it was McDaniel that could have seized the early momentum.

Senior defender Jessica Beall (Winters Mill) nearly converted a corner kick in the 13th minute, but Judges defender Michaela Freedman reacted to her header and cleared the ball off the line.

Sophomore defender Marissa Funke was a standout in defeat and her play in the 62nd minute preserved the scoreless tie.

Brandeis forward Lea McDaniel — yes, McDaniel — had positioned herself perfectly and unloaded on McDonald, who sprawled to the turf, knocked the hard drive aside, but fell out of position.

Funke cleared the ball with just about the entire Brandeis front line flailing away.


McDonald blamed herself for the rebound that got away, leading to the game-winner, but she had to withstand a crisp Brandeis attack that featured accurate passes and some long runs down the flanks that set up numerous chances and gained territorial advantage.

"We worked hard and we created opportunities though it took a while to finish one,'' said Brandeis coach Denise Dallamora.

Funke and McDonald noted that their team has set the bar even higher for future seasons.

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"They're my best friends. I love them and I can't wait for next season,'' said McDonald, who walked en masse with her teammates to the visitors stands at game's end to salute a loyal and vocal following who had dotted the parking lot with Maryland and Pennsylvania license plates.

"It was a tough moment, but it was cool to see them there supporting us,'' McDonald said.

Lagana, in five seasons, has the Green Terror on the right path.


Her 2013 team posted 13 victories and the program's first winning season since 2004 and last year's squad advanced to the NCAAs for the first time.

"We learned last year the hard work and discipline required to get there and I credit our off-season season workouts and commitment to fitness for our taking another step this season,'' said Lagana, a South Carroll graduate.

"They were self-motivated, coachable, and they made me laugh every day. This has been a wonderful group of women to work with."