EASTON, Pa. – Senior forward Kimberly An had a hand in all three goals in leading Army to a 3-1 win over Lafayette Saturday evening and a berth to the Patriot League Women’s Soccer Tournament. The Black Knights (7-7-3, 3-3-1 PL) earned the final sixth spot and their first postseason tournament bid since 2011, while it is Army’s 18th overall.
Trailing 1-0 after Lafayette’s Kaelin King tallied in the 11th minute, Army rallied behind the senior duo of Joey Molacek and An. Molacek scored off a rebound into an empty net after An’s shot was rejected by Leopard Keeper Danielle Sedillo at the 23:41 mark.
Following Army’s goal, the Leopards, (5-10-1, 1-7-0 PL), who had nine shots to the Black Knights’ seven it the first half, held a 3-2 shot advantage over the time remaining with their first hitting the crossbar, the second going wide, and the third rejected by Jordan Cassalia with 45 seconds left to intermission. Army’s first attempt was high and the second was wide.
Army took over the game in the second half as it outshot its guest 5-4 with a 4-0 corner kick advantage. An tallied both goals off headers with the tie-breaking goal coming off Mallory Herron’s corner kick in the 53rd minute for a 2-1 lead. Late in the game, An’s second header off an assist from Molacek went off the goalkeeper’s hands for the insurance goal. The three-goal output is Army’s highest in league play this season.
“We have been playing very good soccer for a while now, but not getting results,” stated Army head coach Marcia McDermott. “We have to give credit to the team for staying focused, and now they are starting to come away with the results. Many times they were playing great soccer without getting the results.”
An, who boosted her season total to seven goals with the pair, along with an assist for 18 points and a pair of game winners, moved up Army’s all-time Top 10 list. She lists fourth with 14 game winters, is tied for fifth place in goals (32) and is eighth in points (76). Molacek, who scored three goals this week and an assist, ranks second on the team in scoring (11 points) and goals (five) to boost her career totals to 19 goals, six assists, 44 points and five game winners.
“The whole senior class has been playing very well across the board,” added McDermott. “The performance of Joey and Kim over the past few games was great in terms of providing clutch goals in key moments. They showed composure and playing in a way you expect from your senior leadership.”
Cassalia finished with five saves, three in the second half, with the second coming just a minute following An’s second goal when she smothered a shot by Lafayette’s Jaclyn Giordano for the third time in the match.
Army was outshot 13-12, but held a 5-2 corner kick advantage. An booted a game-high six shots with four on goal with Molacek and Katie Holder firing two. Giordano led Lafayette with five attempts.
Army’s final regular-season game is next Friday (Nov. 1) when the Black Knights hosts unbeaten league rival Navy (14-3-0, 7-0-0 PL) to Clinton Field for the “Star” match. The Midshipmen, the defending regular-season championship, can clinch the tournament’s top seed and host the semifinals and championships (Nov. 8 and 10) by defeating Loyola (2-10-3, 1-5-1 PL) on Sunday.
ON THE PICH: Army pulled ahead 20-2-2 in the all-time series with the Leopards while extending its unbeaten string against the Leopards to seven … Bucknell joined Army in securing the final two berths to the tournament which was expanded to six now that the league has 10 teams with the addition of Loyola and Boston University … the Bison defeated Holy Cross, 2-0, to earn its spot… Navy is first with 21 points, followed by Boston University with 18 with Colgate (16) third … American and Bucknell are tied for fourth place with 13 points followed by Army with 11 … the last time the Black Knights earned a bid to the Patriot League Tournament was in 2011 as the fourth seed, and they went on to capture the title and automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.