Black Knights No. 4 Seed for Patriot League Tournament
WEST POINT, N.Y. – Army held the upper hand in shots, ripping off 29 to Lafayette’s five, in a pivotal Patriot League women’s soccer match Sunday afternoon on Senior Day, but several near misses and a hot goalkeeper resulted in a 0-0 double overtime draw in a game played at Shea Stadium due to unplayable conditions at Clinton Field.
Army (10-3-5, 3-1-3 PL), which clinched a playoff spot to the tournament last weekend, heads to Hamilton, N.Y., to face host and regular-season champion Colgate (4-1-2) in the first semi-final game Friday afternoon at 5 p.m. The Black Knights are the No. 4 seed in the tournament.
Navy clinched the final fourth berth today, edging Bucknell,1-0, to close out league play 4-2-1, but the Leopards (4-2-1) own the head-to-head tiebreaker and will be the No. 2 seed and the Midshipmen No. 3. They square off in Friday’s second game at 8 p.m. with the semifinal winners advancing to the championship finals on Sunday for the 2011 title and automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
The Black Knights outshot the Leopards 8-3 in the first half with three of their shots on goal, but Smedley, who finished with 10 saves, was up to the challenge. The Leopards took the first shot of the game just eight seconds into the contest on an attempt by Janelle Pierson that was high. They also had the first corner kick of the game just two minutes into the contest, but Lindsay Gordon headed the ball away.
Senior Errin Helbling, who finished with a game-high seven shots, five on goal, was the first to test Smedley with a close shot at the 11:18 mark. She took her second shot on goal in the first half in the 33rd minute just after Kim An’s 25-yard attempt with all three rejected by the Lafayette keeper.
Army senior keeper Monica Lee, who finished with three saves in preserving her 13th shutout of the season and career 20th, nixed Lafayette’s most dangerous attempt just before the halftime intermission on a sliding save on Jill Dozier’s one-on-one breakaway attempt in the 44th minute
The Black Knights dominated the second half and overtime, outshooting the Leopards 21 to two, but could not pierce the net. Both of Lafayette’s second-half were on goal to Army’s three. The Black Knights had five shots blocked and four that went wide, including a shot by Helbling that just missed the right corner of the net in the 88th minute. Army had five shots to Lafayette’s one in the first 15 minutes of the second half with each having a shot on goal rejected.
“We outshot a team 29-5, and that doesn’t happen to often,” said Army head coach Stefanie Golan. “We had quite a few point-blank game-winning opportunities that we did not put away. We put forth a good effort, but it wasn’t good enough because we didn’t finish.
“The team played hard – Yes. Are we in the Patriot League Tournament? – Yes. I hope we got it out of our system today so that we can finish those opportunities at the Patriot League Tournament this coming weekend.”
Army held an 8-0 shot advance in the overtime, getting off six shots in the first period and two in the second, with Smedley pulling up with four saves. The Black Knights had three shots on goal in the first overtime with Helbling taking the first two four minutes apart, along with a shot in the final seconds by Kim An. In the final overtime, An’s header off a free kick went wide and Gordon’s shot with four minutes remaining was grabbed by Smedley.
Army held a 6-4 corner kick advantage, and 24 fouls were called in the game with the Leopards whistled for 14 and the Black Knights 10.
Army honored its five seniors – Dee Clegg, Errin Helbling, Lindsay Gordon, Monica Lee and Julia Stallard – in a ceremony prior to the game. At halftime, head coach Stefanie Golan was joined by former head coach Gene Ventriglia recognizing Army’s Silver Anniversary Team of 22 players.
ON THE PITCH: Army and Lafayette battled to just the second tie in the series with Army holding an 18-2-2 advantage … Army and Lafayette headed into today’s contest in charge of their own destiny due to Colgate’s 1-0 loss to American Saturday evening that opened the door for the Black Knights and Leopards … an Army win clinched a share of the regular-season title with Colgate along with the No. 2 seed … a Lafayette win would have secured the Leopards the regular-season title and host duties this weekend … Army is 0-1-2 against the Patriot League Tournament field … the Black Knights and Colgate battled to a 1-1 double overtime draw when they played at West Point on Oct. 7 … Colgate tied the game up on a penalty kick … Army lost on the road to Navy, 3-2, followed by today’s tie with Lafayette.