Cambridge, Mass. -- Lauren Hernley, last season's NEWMAC player of the year, scored twice in the second half to propel the MIT Engineers women's soccer team to a 2-1 come from behind victory over Brandeis University. The victory was the 200th in the program's history and a great start to the season for the reigning NEWMAC champions. Brandeis fell to 0-1 after losing to MIT for the first time since 2006.
After struggling to capitalize on chances in both halves, the Engineers broke through twice in the last twenty minutes and erased a 1-0 halftime deficit. The comeback began with a beautifully delivered free kick by sophomore defender Andrea Park, who put the ball into the penalty area where Hernley had no trouble heading home the equalizer.
Less than nine minutes later, Hernley struck again on an odd goal. The senior co-captain poked a ball into the turf which took a high bounce off of substitute goalie Leah Sax's outstretched fingers. Sax could do nothing but watch as the ball sailed over her head and bounded towards the goal line, settling itself in the back of the net.
Hernley had five shots in the game, with the two on goal both finding the back of the net. Striker Alisha Lussiez also played a strong game for the Engineers, winning battles in the middle of the pitch and firing four shots on goal.
The victory was not an easy one for the Engineers, who didn't manage a shot until after the half-hour mark. By that time the Judges had already taken the lead through Tiffany Pacheco, who slid a left footed shot past MIT's Katy Olesnavage. The senior goalie made five saves in the victory, but was unable to do anything about Pacheco's brilliant ball.
It looked as though the hosts would tie the game on the stroke of halftime when they were awarded a penalty kick on a yellow-card foul by Brandeis goalie Francine Kofinas. Kofinas, however, made up for her error by diving to her left to stop the penalty attempt by Lussiez. Kofinas made three saves in the first half before being replaced by Sax, who also stopped three shots but took the loss.
Brandeis looked to have regained the lead in the 79th minute but a goal by Megan Kessler was called back. Kessler got behind Olesnavage and potted her own rebound off of the post, but the ball was deemed to have bounced off the wheel of the goal, and therefore was out of bounds. Less than a minute later, Hernley had delivered the game-winner for the Engineers.
MIT will be back in action on Saturday afternoon at Roberts Field when they host Simmons College. Brandeis will play Babson in Waltham on Saturday morning as they begin to host their invitational tournament.