WEST POINT, N.Y. – Sophomore forward Marissa Malta beat Howard keeper Kyra Dickinson with an eight-yard shot into the left corner of the net for her first career tally and game winner as Army posted a 1-0 shutout of the Bison Thursday afternoon at Clinton Field.
The win is Army’s sixth of the season as the Black Knights improved to 6-2-2 following their seventh shutout and fourth in their last five games.
Eleven of Army’s 31 shots were on goal as the Black Knights came up short several times of finishing off their chances. Malta came close to tallying a pair of goals after firing a rebound into the right side of the net off Joey Molacek’s header that hit the crossbar just 11 minutes into the game, but the goal was nullified when the officials ruled that Army was offsides.
In the 30th minute, Molacek took a pass from freshman Jessica Koulabouth and fired a 15-yard shot as Dickinson pulled up with her first save of the game with her second coming late in the first half when she denied Donna Bennett’s attempt to the near left corner.
Malta, who fired a career and game-high seven shots, ripped off three back-to-back on-goal attempts over a two-minute span early in the second half, the first a header followed by shots of 18 and 12 yards, only to be denied by Dickinson. Eight minutes later Malta took a through pass from senior Julia Stallard and broke though with her fourth shot on goal when she drilled a close shot into the net in the 60th minute.
“It felt great getting that goal,” said Malta, “but I don’t think it has hit me yet. I fought for the ball and I thought here is my chance. I knew the goalie was not great with her hands, and I made the most of it. I have been working for this so long and I finally had the opportunity.”
Just prior to Malta’s goal, Stallard booted a loose ball wide in front of the net in the 56th minute and three minutes later her breakaway shot was denied by Dickinson as Army peppered the Bison goal with nine straight shots, six on goal, to open the second half.
The Black Knights, who outshot Howard 19-4 in the second half, just came up short of adding an insurance marker when Mallory Herron found herself all alone in front of the goal following a pass from Bennett, but her shot was high and sailed over the net in the 68th minute.
Army goalkeeper Monica Lee was only called upon to make three saves, recording her seventh shutout this season and career 14th, but her first save in the second half and second in the game proved crucial in denying what could have been the equalizer. She came out of the net and made a diving save on Retha Koefoed's close shot in the 73rd minute.
The Black Knights took six shots over the final 13 minutes with just one on goal, that a header by Rosenberger, to one attempt by Howard. Dickinson finished with 10 saves, eight coming in the second half.
“We are happy with another shutout,” said Army coach Stefanie Golan. “Marissa scored a very good goal, and she has been playing very well as of late. We are proud of her stepping up and doing that. It was a total team effort.
“In the first half we were not as dangerous as we would have liked, and let Howard slow the game down. The second half we came out and moved the ball quicker and we switched the point of attack which created more opportunities.”
Army, in the midst of a six-game home stretch, hosts Marist Sunday afternoon in its final Patriot League tune-up as the Black Knights open their conference slate Oct. 2 hosting Holy Cross. Army was picked first in the league’s preseason poll and the Crusaders were eighth.
ON THE PITCH: It was the second meeting with Howard and first since 2002 … both games resulted in blankings with Army a 7-0 winner in 2002 and 1-0 today … the Black Knights are 4-1-2 at Clinton Field this season … Army’s staff and team wore bright yellow shoelaces in celebrating Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month … the Black Knights will also wear the shoelaces in Sunday’s game with Marist.