While we're disappointed that there are no games to recap in 2021, it gives us an opportunity to look back on some of our favorite moments of the last decade (or so)! We'll be reposting the recaps and other media right here on Fridays every week throughout the school year.
After 21 years of holding their annual tournament in Florida, 2017 saw the first-ever on-campus UAA softball games. Cold weather wiped out all but five innings of the Judges’ home debut series against Case, sending them on the road to Atlanta to face Emory, who had gone to the Division III Softball World Series the previous year and were ranked #4 in the nation in the preseason. On April 7, they came away with a historic doubleheader sweep with two dramatic wins over the Eagles, 4-1 and 5-4, both in eight innings.
The opener was a pitcher’s duel that was tied 1-1 headed into the eighth, with the tiebreaker rule not implemented until the 10th inning in conference play. Brandeis centerfielder Amanda Shore ’18, who made a great catch in the seventh, opened the eighth with a double. After an out and a walk, Emory reinserted their starting pitcher, but her first pitch to PJ Ross ’20 was driven to left-centerfield for the game-winning hit. Scottie Todd ’20 retired the side in order in the bottom of the frame to get the win, tossing an eight-inning complete game.
“I remember thinking, ‘Uh oh, if I don’t catch this, that’s the game,’ said Shore. “I probably blacked out a little bit and I dove and caught it! We all ran into the dugout super pumped and that’s when I really felt like it was our game to win. I was the next batter up, and my adrenaline was super high, and ended up hitting a double. Then PJ absolutely blasted, no doubt, as soon as it touched her bat, a home run.”
“When PJ hit that ball over left-field we absolutely lost our minds,” said Keri Lehtonen ’19, the team’s catcher that year. “Some of us just looked at each other in disbelief, we couldn’t grasp the concept that we had conquered the king of the hill.”
Game two was a wilder affair, with 20 walks issued between the two teams. Marissa DeLaurentis ’19 and Lehtonen each had run-scoring hits in regulation, and even with their free passes, Brandeis pitchers were able to limit the damage caused by the Eagles, leaving the bases loaded in four consecutive innings. In the top of the eighth, Brandeis drew four straight walks, with Lehtonen plating the game-winning run. Todd then earned her second win of the day by retiring the side in order for the first time since the first inning.
About her game-winning free pass, Lehtonen said, “I was up to bat thinking ‘No one wants to walk to win the game, but I will take this walk right now.’ Thinking back now, it was definitely the biggest walk of my career. I was absolutely exhausted, but I remembered you just have to get through this at-bat and then will tackle whatever comes next.
“The great thing about that day is that we were playing really loose. We went in there as the underdog and Brandeis softball plays its best as the underdog. That was a really fun day and I remember just being so proud of the team because we were younger at the time and we just dug in and did what we did best.”
After finishing behind rival NYU in each of the previous six years, the Brandeis fencing team broke through in 2000 as the top Division III team in collegiate fencing, scoring 40 points to edge out MIT by three and the Violets by four. The Judges set four men to the championships - two in sabre and one each in foil and epee. The top performance was turned in by senior sabreist Tim Morehouse '00, who earned half of the team's points by going 20-3 in the round robin to finish in second place overall. Though he ended up placing fourth in the direct elimination bouts, Morehouse ended his campaign being named the national sabre fencer of the year. Sophomore Michael Topper '02 added five more points in sabre, finishing 21st, while junior Boris Sirlin '01 was 19th in foil, also with five points. Senior Boris Moyston '00 registered a quarter of the team's points by going 10-13 in epee, good for 17th place.
The 2018 NCAA Division III Indoor Track and Field Championships sent the Brandeis indoor track and field teams to the Birmingham Fastrack in Alabama. The Judges didn't disappoint, posting three All-America performances and one national championship. Emily Bryson '19 to claim her first two track and field All-America honors and her first title. Bryson, along with sister Julia Bryson '19, classmate Doyin Ogundiran '19 and Lisbeth Valdez '21, set a then-school record in the distance medley relay on the first night of competition with a time of 11:42.97. On day 2 of the action, Irie Gourde '17/MA '18 claimed eighth place in the 200-meter dash. Seeded 10th entering the championships, he turned in the fifth-fastest preliminary time, 21.91 seconds. Despite not making the final in his preferred event, the 400-meters, Gourde became Brandeis's first-ever 200 All-American with a time of 22.09 seconds, good for eighth place. The evening was capped by Bryson's terrific showing the 3,000-meters. Already a four-time All-American by this point - three in cross country and previously with the DMR - Bryson pulled into the lead lap with 800 meters to go and ran a blistering 30.67 seconds on the final lap to with a time of 9:33.99, still the ninth-fastest in Division III history.
NCAA HIGHLIGHT VIDEO (Fast-forward to 2:45 for Emily Bryson)
The first weekend of March has meant NCAA Tournament time for basketball. This week we go all the way back to 1975 when the Judges hosted Rhode Island College, Suffolk, and UMass Boston in the first two rounds. Brandeis defeated Rhode Island College, 94-84, in the opening round, thanks to a remarkable 44-point performance from Mike Fahey ’75, while Wes Cotter ’75 drew a key foul late in the game on RIC’s 6-11 star to help stall an attempt at a comeback by the Anchormen. In the second round of the tournament, the Judges faced Suffolk for the second time in the campaign and completed the season and weekend sweep, 89-77. After gaining an early 4-3 lead, coach Bob Brannum’s squad never trailed, as they went on to win their 20th game of the season for the third time in program history. Richard Rush ’77 scored six of Brandeis’s first eight points and finished with 23 points, seven rebounds, and three blocked shots, while Fahey led the way with 34 points to claim Regional MVP honors. The Judges would finish one step shy of their first Final Four with a 96-76 loss to Brockport State on the road the next weekend.
Photos courtesy Brandeis Archives and Special Collections
The University Athletic Association championships came home a year early in the rotation for the Brandeis indoor track and field team in 2017. Senior Irie Gourde '18/MA '19, who had joined the team for the first time just the previous semester, proved to be the most valuable performer for the men's team, earning a pair of runner-up finishes in the 200- and 400-meter dashes. He edged teammate Regan Charie '19 at the tape to take silver in the 200, and won his heat but finished second on time in the 400. On the women's side, sophomore Emily Bryson '19 won her first career UAA Indoor title in spectacular fashion, running the mile in 4:55.29 to set a new UAA record, using her trademark kick on the final lap to win by two seconds.
In 2016, Brandeis baseball had a new coach for the first time in 34 seasons, as Derek Carlson '91 took over for Pete Varney. The Judges opened the season with a three-game series against St. Joseph's (Brooklyn) and swept the Bears with a pair of close contests and one blowout. Brandeis won the opener, 4-3, by scoring three times in the top of the ninth inning. Ryan Tettemer '17 had a two-run triple and scored the game-winning run, while Ryan Healey '16 earned the save. The Judges took game two of the series by the same 4-3 score in 11 innings. Rob Trenk '15/MA '16 was the driving force in the middle contest, with a career-high four hits while knocking in all three runs in the first nine innings and scoring the game-winner in the 11th. In the series finale, Brandeis won, 8-2, with three Judges combining on a six-hitter. Sam Miller '16 allowed one hit over 5.2 innings to start, while Daniel Schupper '19 and Liam O'Connor '16 maintained the lead over the final 3.1 frames. Greg Heineman '16 went 3-4 with two runs and two RBI to account for half of the team's offense. The 3-0 start for the Judges was their best since 2008. For their efforts, Trenk and Miller earned D3Baseball.com Team of the Week honors, with Trenk recognized by the UAA as well.
The second weekend in February typically means the University Athletic Association Swimming and Diving championships. In 2015, one of the program's best-ever distance swimmers, Max Fabian '15 closed out his career in style. A transfer student, Fabian lowered the school record in the 1,650-yard freestyle each year at UAAs. In his last meet, he shaved four seconds off his previous career-best with a time of 16:06.06, 10 seconds faster than the NCAA 'B' cut, although he did not earn selection to the championships. Fabian won the afternoon heat of the mile and finished in seventh place, the second-best of his career. Fabian also finished in 14th in the 400 IM and 22nd in the 500 free earlier in the meet, lowering his own school record in that event as well. Zach Diamond '18 and Joey Barr '18 also placed for the men in the 1,650, while Joanna Murphy '17 and Yi Sul Richter '18 did so for the women.
In one of the most memorable regular-season performances in recent Brandeis men's fencing history, the Judges went down to North Carolina for their biennial trip to the Duke Invitational. After wins over Johns Hopkins, North Carolina and Air Force, the Judges had a lunch break before their match against the host team. Duke came into the meet ranked #10 in the nation thanks to wins a week prior over powerhouses Notre Dame and Stanford.
Brandeis jumped out to a 10-1 lead, thanks to an 8-1 win by the foil squad of Julian Cardillo '14, Noah Berman '15 and Ethan Levy '15. The lead was still at 12-5 when sabre started, but the Judges were facing one of the top squads in the country. Duke won the first four matches to cut the Brandeis lead to 12-9. Adam Mandel '15 got Brandeis within one with a 5-2 win before Jess Ochs-Willard '15 picked up the clinching victory, 5-3, before Mandel picked up Brandeis's 15th and final win. Brandeis closed out the meet with a 16-11 win over MIT to take home the title. Cardillo was the Judges' fencer of the meet, going 15-0 across the five matches.
Footage from the meet was taken by Stuart Berman P'15. Fast-forward to the 19:00 mark to see Ochs-Willard's clinching touch.
Students are back on campus starting this week, but just over three decades ago, Brandeis Basketball was on the road in some out-of-the-ordinary venues over Winter Break. For the women, there was an eight-day winter break trip to Cyprus and Greece in which the team went 2-1. In Cyprus, the Judges faced a national team that had only been in existence for a couple of years and a local University team before a squad more experienced Greek All-Stars got the win on the second leg of the trip.
For the men, late January saw the Judges play a game in Boston Garden for the first time since the 1950s. They met NYU on the fabled parquet floor, and though they fell, 81-65, it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for the Judges.
Wins in St. Louis have been few over the years, but last season, the Judges made it two out of the last three on the opening leg of their Midwest trip. The game featured 10 ties and 12 lead changes, but Brandeis entered the fourth period down, five, 63-58. The Judges quickly erased the deficit by dialing long-distance, with 3-pointers from Jillian Petrie '21 and Camila Casanueva '21 knotting the score at 65. A couple of mini-runs meant the hosts had a 73-72 lead with less than three minutes remaining, but Emma Reavis '23 put the Judges ahead for good, as they sunk 10-of-12 from the free-throw line to hold off the WashU charge. Casanueva led the Judges with 20 points, while Petrie had a career-high 18.
In a modified tri-meet on this weekend in 2019, the Judges faced Maine Maritime and Merrimack in Linsey Pool. Brandeis had little trouble with MMA, with the men winning, 110-78, and the women taking a 225-25 decision. Against Merrimack for the women (the Warriors do not sponsor a men's team), it came down to the last race, the 200 free relay. Though the team of Lauren Howard '22, Annie Huang '21, Audrey Kim '21 and Kylie Herman '19 finished just 0.22 seconds behind the Merrimack team for first place, it was enough to secure a 131.5-129.5 victory for the meet. Herman had two individual wins in the 200- and 500-yard freestyle races, while Olivia Stebbins '22 swept the breaststroke races. Justin Weissberg '20 also won the 200- and 500-yard free races for the men.
Since 2018, the spring semester for the indoor track and field team has opened with the running of the annual Reggie Poyau '04 Memorial Invitational. Two years ago, junior Sonali Anderson '22 lowered the school record in the 60-meter hurdles for the second time in as many meets. She just missed doing so by 0.03 during the prelims, then edged out her competition from Bentley in the finals by two-thousandths of a second, 9.471 to 9.473. Anderson would eventually get the record down to 9.28 seconds at the UAA Championships later that year. The women also had wins from Emily and Julia Bryson '19, in the 3,000-meters and mile run, respectively, while classmate Doyin Ogundiran '19 took the 800-meter run. Regan Charie '19 was the lone winner for the men, taking the 60-meter dash. Both teams finished in second place.
From 2008 through 2016 (and again last year), the Brandeis women's basketball team has played an afternoon game on New Year's Eve. The 2010 edition of the game was unique in the series in that it was the first contest played by Carol Simon's squad in Shapiro Gymnasium since the opening of the Gosman Athletic Center. With Auerbach Arena closed for renovations to the track, the Judges saw out the year against Husson University for the second season in a row. Brandeis dominated the glass, 52-29, including 22-8 on the offensive boards, to take the 63-46 victory. Morgan Kendrew '12 scored 12 of her 17 points in the second half to lead all scorers, while Samantha Anderson '13 made her second career start a big one by grabbing 12 rebounds, six on the offensive end. Kendrew and Janelle Rodriguez '13 each had seven first-half points, matching the Eagles' full offensive output in the opening stanza.
With games over Christmas break a rarity, we'll fast-forward to New Year's Eve Day. Three years ago on the road, Collin Sawyer '20 demonstrated his flair for the dramatic by banking home a 3-pointer as time expired to give the men a 76-73 victory over Bates in Lewiston. Brandeis led for most of the first half and were ahead by 10 when the Bobcats started to rally. The hosts took the lead with a 19-8 run and were ahead by seven with 4:33 to go. Brandeis answered again, going up by five with less than two minutes remaining, but the Bobcats answered again. Both teams scored buckets with under 10 seconds on the clock before setting up Sawyer's heroics (video below courtesy Bates College). Lawrence Sabir '21 and Chandler Jones '21 tied for the team lead with 18 points.
In their first season under a new head coach, Jean Bain, the men's basketball team matched their win total from the previous season in just nine games thanks to a dramatic finish. The Judges led by as many as 10 points in the first quarter, but Emerson rallied to take a six-point lead into the half. Brandeis opened the second half on a 10-4 run to tie the game. The game stayed close, with Brandeis up by six with 2:46 to go, but the Lions rallied to tie it at 72 with under five seconds to go, but senior Corey Sherman '19 knocked down a long 3-pointer with 0.9 on the clock to earn the victory. Sherman finished with a team-high 21 points, while Eric D'Aguanno '20 and Chandler Jones '21 each had 14.
The women's basketball team got off to a tremendous start last season, going 10-1 in non-conference action. The highlight of the streak was this OT game against their rivals from down Route 16. Brandeis trailed Babson by seven points midway through the third quarter, but the Judges rallied to take a three-point advantage into the fourth, 57-54. The lead went back and forth in the last period of regulation, but when Jillian Petrie '21 dialed long distance with 12.4 seconds to go on the clock to make it 74-72, Brandeis looked to have the game in hand. The Beavers called the right play out of their ensuing timeout to force overtime, but Brandeis missed just three shots in the last five minutes, including going 17-of-18 from the line to fall just short of scoring 100 points in the game. It still marked the second-highest scoring contest in program history, thanks to six different players scoring in double figures, paced by Camila Casanueva '21's 19 points, 9 boards and 8 assists, and 19 points and 16 boards from Hannah Nicholson '20.
Brandeis teams don't often play over Thanksgiving weekend, but in American's bicentennial year, men's soccer had good reason to do so. The Judges were in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania, for the Final Four weekend. They defeated the home-standing Blue Jays, 3-2, in overtime in the semifinals, to play in a national championship game for the first time. The Judges and Eagles went to overtime tied at 1-1, but in the extra session, Hall of Famer Cleveland Lewis '79 entered the game despite a broken nose and scored the golden-goal game-winner on a header from Michael Liechtenstein '79. The Judges have been to three more Final Fours in men's soccer, but this team, along with the 1983 men's cross country team, remain Brandeis two lone team national champions.
At the end of the 2017 Fall season, Brandeis Cross Country sent two runners to the NCAA Championships for the second year in a row. For the first time since 1995, the Judges brought home All-America honors on both the men's and women's side in the same year. The Judges battled a wind-swept course at Principia College in Elsah, Illinois. In the men's race, Ryan Stender '18 had finished just two places out of All-America status the year before, coming in 37th. He left no doubt as a senior, placing 28th overall with the third-fastest 8K time of his career. Junior phenom Emily Bryson '19 would join an exclusive club in the women's race with her 20th-place finish, becoming fifth Judge and third woman to earn three career All-America honors in cross country. Bryson would go on to become the first four-time cross-country All-American a year later.
After seven-straight ECAC tournament berths, the Brandeis women's soccer team finally broke back into the NCAA tournament exactly one decade ago. The Judges were able to host a first-round regional, welcoming their first-round opponents from Castleton State as well as Williams and Lasell. It was the second NCAA berth in program history and the first since 1988. The Judges fell behind the Spartans in the 10th minute, but a pair of rookies scored goals to give the hosts the win. In the 12th minute, then-rookie (and now head coach) Mary Shimko '14 poked the ball over the line to tie the game at 1-all. Brandeis forced the CSC goalkeeper to make seven more saves in the first half before Hilary Andrews '14 converted a cross from Tiffany Pacheco '11 in the 72nd minute, allowing the home crowd to erupt. The assist from Pacheco was the 29th of her career, still an all-time record. The Judges fell to Williams in the next round, but the squad set the stage for six NCAA trips in the next eight seasons.
Two years ago, the volleyball team entered the UAA tournament in Rochester as the eighth seed. After pushing top-seeded Emory in three sets in the opening round and edging Case Western Reserve, 3-1, for their first conference tournament win since 2010, the Judges met NYU in the fifth-place match. After the Violets held Brandeis to an .063 hitting percentage in the first two sets, the Judges answered by hitting .186 the rest of the way. Brandeis won the next two sets, 25-22 and 25-21, to force a fifth set. Brandeis never trailed in the final set, winning 15-8 on a kill by then-sophomore Marissa Borgert '21. After the fantastic finish, head coach Alesia Bennett earned her first UAA Coach of the Year honor.
In 2012, men's soccer was coming off back-to-back ECAC titles and in search of its first NCAA tournament berth in more than two decades. The Judges stood two points behind Carnegie Mellon headed to the Big Apple for their regular-season finale. Blake Minchoff '13 made two saves in the first half and in the 68th minute, Lee Russo '13 found eventual UAA MVP Sam Ocel '13 on a corner kick for the decisive goal. With a 4-2-1 record and 13 points, the Judges then paid close attention to the scoreboard to see where they would finish in the league standings. WashU could have claimed the title with a win over Chicago, but the Bears and Maroons battled to a draw. In the day's final game, Emory at CMU, the Tartans needed just one point to win the conference outright, but Emory earned a 1-0 win to create a four-way tie at the top of the standings. Though Carnegie got the automatic bid, Brandeis's first claim on a UAA crown helped coach Mike Coven to his first UAA Coach of the Year honor.
The first of many great races in the career of Emily Bryson '19 was run on Halloween in 2015, when Brandeis hosted the University Athletic Association Championships at Franklin Park in Boston. Her devastating kick was on display, as Bryson caught Chicago's Khia Kurtenbach down the stretch to win by 0.32 of a second. Bryson became the first and only woman to win UAA Runner and Rookie of the Year honors in the same season with the victory. She led Brandeis to a fourth-place finish after having come in eighth the year before. Bryson earned National Division III Runner of the Week honors for the victory.
The fantastic finish
Emily after the race
Another Homecoming thriller, as a pair of top-10 teams battled to overtime. The #10 Judges outshot the #7 Bears, 12-11, in regulation, with goalkeeper Alexis Grossman '17 making a diving stop at the end of regulation to preserve the tie. In the 95th minute, it was senior midfielder Alec Spivack '16, who scored her second UAA game-winning goal of the season.
With Virtual Homecoming on the horizon, we'll look back at some memorable Homecoming wins for the next few weeks! In 2017, as the sub-headline read, men's soccer cornered the market in a 2-0 win over Carnegie Mellon. The Judges scored both goals in the first half against the Tartans on corner kicks. Dylan Hennessey '20 connected with the head of classmate Alex Walter '20 in the ninth minute. In the 32nd minute, Josh Ocel '17 scored directly off the kick for his 17th career goal. All-American Ben Woodhouse '18 made the total stand up with a career-high 11 saves, 10 coming in the second half.
After several years of sending players to the quarterfinals of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Division New England Championships under former head coach Ben Lamanna, senior Michael Arguello broke through in 2016 to make it to the championship match. Unseeded, he knocked off four seeded opponents on the way. He defeated the fifth seed in the opening round and bounced back in the second round after dropping the first set, 0-6, to reach the second day of action. His final four opponents were all 9-16 seeds. Arguello won two more three-setters on Day 2 to reach the finals, where he won eight-straight games after the first set was tied at 5-5 to advance to the finals, where his opponent went on to be the individual NCAA Champion that year.
Last season, the Judges hosted the first of three UAA Round Robins. They closed out the weekend against Rochester with a thrilling five-set match on the main court of Auerbach Arena. After dropping the first set, 12-25, Brandeis bounced back with 25-13 wins in the next two. UR responded with a 25-18 win in the fourth before the Judges won the first three points and never trailed in the fifth, 15-8. Emma Bartlett '20, Belle Scott '21 and Marissa Borgert '21 each had double-double performances to lead the home team to victory.
"We worked hard for every point today," said head coach Alesia Bennett after the match. "We've battled through some adversity in the early part of this season. I am so proud of how our team worked together to earn the win."
Want to watch the full match again? Follow this link!
After starting the season with a small meet in 2015, the cross country teams had their traditional first big race of the season two weeks later at UMass Dartmouth. Both Brandeis teams topped the field thanks to a pair of younger team members. Between the two teams, there were six top-20 finishes. Ryan Stender '18 paced the men to a 23-point win over Division II East Stroudsburg, while Emily Bryson '19 was fifth overall to lead the women to a 30-point win over ESU.
The most-played rivalry in men's soccer program history had a special flavor five years ago, as head coach Mike Coven was in search of his 500th career victory. After a scoreless regulation and first overtime session, the Judges had a set piece deep in the Babson zone with just under three minutes left on the clock. Midfielder Josh Ocel '17, the program's all-time leader in assists, put the free kick onto the head of Jake Picard '16, who scored his second-straight game-winning goal.
The 2011 season opener was memorable for the identity of the first goalscorer. The game-winner came early in the second half thanks to then-sophomore Mary Shimko '14. Who knew that, nine years later, Mary would be selected to succeed Denise Dallamora as the second head coach in program history.