WEST POINT, N.Y. – Army held a 34-15 shot advantage and led 8-3 in corner kicks, but could not get one past Central Connecticut State’s Nikola Deiter, who finished with 14 saves, as the Black Knights and Blue Devils fought to a scoreless overtime draw Friday evening at Clinton Field.
The shutout is Army’s second straight of the season and first overtime match in showing a 1-1-1 mark. The game is CCSU’s season debut and it is the second straight year that the Blue Devils (0-0-1) played Army in their season opener. The Black Knights pulled out a late goal in a 1-0 road decision last year.
“We are walking out here disappointed that we did not come out with a win,” said Army coach Stefanie Golan at the conclusion of the game. “We felt like we were in control a majority of the game. What we didn’t do was finish our opportunities.
“We have to build from here and go with the confidence that we are creating opportunities that we need in order to be able to win games. Now we have to finish them”
After recording just one save late in the first half, Army keeper Monica Lee had five in the second half and one in the first overtime in recording a career-high seven saves. She has yielded just two goals in 290 minutes for a 0.62 goals-against average.
Sophomore Kim An, the Patriot League’s preseason Offensive Player of the Year, had a game-high seven shots with three on goal. Senior Lindsay Gordon ripped off six shots with four on goal.
An’s first two shots of the game were on goal and taken in the first six minutes. She booted four in the first half, three on goal with the other high. By halftime, she had taken seven shots and Gordon had five as Army held a 28-13 shot advantage and led 4-3 in corner kicks. With less than two minutes left in regulation, An’s header from 11 yards was snagged by Deiter.
Army took six shots in the overtime, one in the first and five in the second 10-minute sudden-death period, to just two by CCSU (both in the first overtime). Five of the Black Knights shots were on goal, four in the final three minutes with Joey Molacek, Gordon, Molly McGuigan and Donna Bennett trying to get one past Deiter.
“Defensively, we thought we did a great job as most of Central Connecticut State’s shots on goal were from about 40 yards out, which is not dangerous,” noted the third-year coach. “We are pleased with the effort and we are pleased with some of what we were able to do tonight, we are not just happy with the results.
“Last year we led the nation in three defensive categories, and I like to think that our defense is going to be stingy again. Central Connecticut tried to get out and use their speed, but our backs stuck together and we did well.”
Golan felt that there is still a lot of room to build, but that the team was connecting a lot better than they did last year at this time, along with playing together and understanding the system better.
“We are definitely happy where we are,” continued Golan. “There was not a player I can say I was disappointed in what they gave, regardless if they stared and played every minute or came in and gave us five to 10 minutes. I felt everyone’s effort was superb and not a single player am I disappointed in.”
Hurricane Irene forced the cancelation of Sunday’s game at Quinnipiac because of the inclement weather expected to arrive in the area.
Army has a tough challenge next week when it returns to action as it looks to defend its title at the Black Knight Classic next weekend, taking on Seton Hall Friday evening and Stetson on Sunday. Last year Army blanked Vermont and Marist, 3-0, to capture the title.