WEST POINT, N.Y. – Army closes out a three-game Patriot League homestand Saturday afternoon, 3:30 p.m., when it takes on Lehigh in a crucial match at Clinton Field where the host Black Knights (5-6-3, 1-2-2 PL) are looking to get back in the win column in conference play.
As October winds past its halfway point, women’s soccer has only three weeks remaining of regular-season Patriot League matches with teams jockeying for one of the six tournament berths.
Army is in seventh place in the league standings with five points, just one point out of sixth place which is held by Bucknell (2-3-0 PL) and Holy Cross (2-3-0 PL) with six points each. The Black Knights defeated the Bison 2-1 in overtime on the road, and take on the Crusaders next week in Worcester, Mass.
With four conference matches remaining, Army is in control of its own destiny and could compile 17 points if it wins out its matches with its biggest test in the season finale against Navy (Nov. 1). A win Saturday against Lehigh would not only get Army back on the winning track, but would end a four-game league winless streak. The Black Knights, who are 0-2-2 during that stretch, are coming off a 0-0 overtime draw with American Sunday after bowing to Colgate, 2-1, earlier in the week.
Army and Lehigh rank in the lower half of the league standings with the Black Knights holding a two-point lead over the Mountain Hawks (3-8-2, 1-4-0 PL), who are tied with Lafayette for eighth place following their 2-1 victory last weekend over newcomer Loyola. Lehigh, 1-3-0 in its last four games, suffered a 2-1 non-league defeat to Princeton on Wednesday.
Eight of Lehigh’s matches have been decided by a goal with the Mountain Hawks winning twice. Lehigh’s league losses are to American (1-0), Bucknell (3-2 OT), Lafayette (1-0) and Boston University (3-0).
In league play, Army edged Bucknell 2-1 on senior Kimberly An’s tally in the second overtime. The Black Knights battled to overtime draws against Loyola (1-1 OT) and American (0-0 OT), and suffered one-goal losses to Boston University, 1-0, and Colgate, 2-1. The Terriers and Raiders are 4-1-0 in conference matches and tied for second place in the standings with 12 points, three behind leader Navy (5-0-0) with 15 points.
The Black Knights have outshot their league opponents 88-46 and show a 33-36 advantage in corner kicks, but have been unable to capitalize of late on their opportunities. An ranks second in the Patriot League in scoring (12 points) and goals (five), but has a target on her back in league play in being limited to just one goal.
Sophomore forward Katie Holder leads the team in game winners (two) and ranks second in goals (three) and points (seven). Sophomore forward Candace Stewart has scored both of her goals in league play, opening the scoring against Bucknell and tallying the equalizer (1-1) in last week’s game with Colgate. Molly McGuigan, Anna Lail and Joey Molacek have also scored a pair of goals for the Black Knights who rank fourth overall in the league in goals (16) and tied for fourth place in scoring (43 points).
Defensively, Army has limited its opponents to just 1.07 goals per game and shut out five opponents. In goal, freshman Jordan Cassalia is 5-6-3 with a 1.02 goals against average, along with having a hand in all five shutouts.
Lehigh is led by Danielle Salans with three goals and an assists for seven points, with Murphee Greely and Darby Dustman each tallying a pair of goals. The Mountain Hawks have scored 10 goals this season and have been shut out six times. They have booted 118 shots with 51 on goal along with 24 corner kicks. Ashley Blanks and Ani Nahapetian have shared goaltending duties with each competing in eight games. Blanks shows a 2-2-2 mark and 1.15 GAA with Nahapetian sporting a 1.37 GAA.
Army and Lehigh are meeting for the 25th time in a series that began in 1991 with the Black Knights holding a 15-5-4 lead. The Black Knights captured the first 10 games, but the series has been even the last eight meetings with each posting a pair of wins with the other four games ending in ties Army defeated Lehigh 2-1 last year at Clinton Field with Joey Molacek snapping a 1-1 halftime tie in the 77th minute to lift the Black Knights to the win, their second straight over the Mountain Hawks at home following a 1-0 overtime decision in 2010.
Saturday’s game will be video streamed live on Knight Vision, the Black Knights' subscription-based multimedia platform available via Army's official website (www.goARMYsports.com). Live stats will also be available via GameTracker on Army's website by navigating to the women's soccer schedule page. In-game Twitter updates for Army's games will also be offered via the official handle of Army women's soccer (@Army_WSoccer).