Sophomore forward Anna Lail converted a penalty kick in the 66th minute, and freshman goalkeeper Jordan Cassalia pulled up with two key saves over the final 2:20 of the game as the Army women’s soccer team held on to defeat Fairfield, 1-0, Friday evening at Clinton Field in the season debut for both teams.
First-year head coach Marcia McDermott’s opening win on the Army sideline was witnessed by a crowd of 700-plus fans. She is the third Black Knight head coach to open their inaugural season on a winning note.
“Fairfield is an outstanding team,” said McDermott. “They put a lot of pressure on you and have a very good style of play. I think that we did a good job of keeping our composure, trying to play our game and trying to match their physicality and their intensity. It was a very even game back and forth, but our team did a good job of holding possession and getting that first win.”
The blanking is the third straight by the Black Knights, dating back to last year when they closed out the season on a two-game winning note. Army has outscored its last three opponents 7-0.
Following a scoreless first half with Army booting nine shots to four by the Stags, who were picked first in the preseason Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference poll, the Black Knights capitalized when Lail beat the keeper with a low shot into the left corner of the net. The goal is Lail’s career third and second game winner.