WORCESTER, MASS. – Senior midfielder Joey Molacek scored twice, with her game winner coming with five seconds left in the second overtime, in rallying Army to a 2-1 decision over host Holy Cross as the Black Knights (6-7-3, 2-3-2 PL) kept alive their hopes for a postseason berth to the Patriot League Tournament after moving into sixth place in the standings with eight points.
The win snapped a six-game winless streak for the Black Knights, while the Crusaders slipped to 2-10-4 overall and 2-5-0 in conference play. Army took over sixth place, two points behind Bucknell (3-3-1 for 10 points), who they beat 2-1 in OT earlier in the year, and two points ahead of Lehigh and Holy Cross, who dropped into sixth place (2-5-0) with six points.
Trailing 1-0 following an unassisted goal by Crusader Annie Galvin late in the first half, Army kept pounding away in the second half with two of its first six shots on goal, two went wide, one was blocked and the other sailed over the net before Molacek capitalized when her shot deflected off a Crusader defender into the net in the 81st minute to tie the score 1-1 and give the Black Knights new life.
Less than two minutes later, Kimberly An’s shot sailed over the net with the Crusaders’ final shot by Galvin going wide left as the match went into overtime.
Army, outshooting Holy Cross 19-6 in regulation, along with an 8-1 corner kick advantage, dominated the overtime in booting seven shots (four in the first overtime and three in the second) in holding Cross to just one shot for a 26-7 advantage.
Holy Cross keeper Carly McCabe, who finished with nine saves, made three in the final two minutes of the first overtime on attempts by Molacek, Hanna Rozzi and An, whose shot came in the final seconds.
The Black Knights continued their barrage in the second overtime with Molacek taking the first shot that went wide left before a corner kick by Ruthie Rosenberger set in motion the deciding goal. The corner kick went into the far end of the box and was volleyed from An to Molacek, who beat McCabe when she curled her shot into the near side of the right post for her second goal of the game, fourth of the season and career 18th tally. The game winner is Molacek’s first of the season and career fifth.
“Joey showed great performance with both her goals,” noted first-year head coach Marcia McDermott. “For the team to have fought to produce that corner kick in the last 30 seconds, and executed it that way was also a very good collective effort.”
In goal, Army keeper Jordan Cassalia finished with four saves, three in the first half and one in the second overtime. With just under four minutes remaining in the second overtime, Cassalia came out and directed the ball away in denying Galvin, who was headed to the ball after being an Army defender. With just over a minute left in the game, Cassalia rejected a shot by Ally Pasquariello en route to improving to 6-7-3 on the season.
For the second straight game, An led the way in shots with seven, three on goal, in spite of being doubled and tripled team throughout with Katie Holder firing of six shots, along with five by Molacek, as seven Black Knights accounted for the 26 shots.
“The team played well throughout the game,” added McDermott, “and it was one of their most consistent and complete performances we put together. We possessed the ball well, we created good chances and finished those chances and defended as a collective unit.”
Army closes out its Patriot League road schedule Saturday and can further help its cause when it heads to Lafayette. The Leopards (5-9-1) are in last place in the league with a 1-6-0 mark.
“We are going to take it just one game at a time and focus on our next game, which is Lafayette, and getting prepared for that game and going out and performing,” stated McDermott.
PITCH NOTES: Army pulled ahead of Holy Cross 18-5-3 in the all time series after bowing 1-0 to the Crusaders in last year’s Patriot League opener for their first loss to Cross since 1995 … Colgate and American, despite losing tonight to Boston University (3-0) and Loyola (2-0), clinched Patriot League tournament berths with identical 4-2-1 marks and 13 points … four teams, to include Navy (7-0-0, 21 points) and Boston University (6-1-0, 18 points) are in the tournament with just two spots remaining … Navy can clinch the No. 1 seed and home field for the semifinals and championship with a win Sunday over Loyola (1-5-1).