WEST POINT, N.Y. - Freshman midfielder T.J. Rowe scored less than one minute into the first half and junior forward Tanner Robertson added an insurance tally late in the opening stanza to lead Army to a 2-0 victory over Manhattan in a non-conference men's soccer match Tuesday evening at Clinton Field.
Rowe netted his second goal of the season just 49 seconds into the contest to set the tone for the Black Knights. Sophomore midfielder Mitch Johnson threw the ball deep into the box and junior defender Jeff Pickett headed it to Rowe, who beat Manhattan goalkeeper Joseph Lorenz from point-blank range.
Robertson doubled Army's lead in the 41st minute when he received a corner kick from senior forward Sean Kim near the top the box and launched a fluttering shot that got past Lorenz for his third marker of the season.
The Black Knights (3-12-1) dominated the Jaspers in the first half, holding a 13-4 edge in shots and a 5-3 advantage in corner kicks.
Army had several chances to add to its lead in the second half, but the Black Knights were unable to find the back of the net. One of Army's best opportunities came less than five minutes into the period when Kim clanged a shot off the left post.
Later in the stanza, sophomore midfielder Arnold Chun's header was saved by Manhattan goalkeeper Christopher Lands, who replaced Lorenz and played the entire second half for the Jaspers. Then, during an 89-second span near the 56th minute, senior midfielder Michael Leach and Kim each saw driving shots saved by Lands.
Manhattan (0-15-0) generated some offense of its own in the second half, firing five shots in the frame. The Jaspers' best scoring chance came in the 61st minute when Carlo Giachino rattled a shot off the crossbar.
Sophomore goalkeeper Michal Fiuk and senior goalkeeper Thomas Kendall combined on the shutout for the Black Knights. Fiuk made three saves in over 86 minutes of action, while Kendall, in his first career appearance, played the final 3:48 and was not tested.
Lorenz posted two saves, but also allowed both Army goals in taking the loss in the Jaspers' cage. Lands, meanwhile, was credited with three saves during the scoreless second half.
Army finished with a 25-9 edge in shots, including a 7-3 advantage in shots on goal. The Black Knights ended the match with an 8-5 margin in corner kicks.
"I think that's how you want to end (the season) at home," said Army first-year head coach Russell Payne. "The guys all had a chance to really put it out there and prove that we're still building. We can do some good things and we can help ourselves, and we did tonight. We got the goals that we wanted. We could have gotten more, but credit Manhattan. I know what they're fighting right now and they managed to put some things together and almost pinched us a couple of times as well. It was good, defensively, for us to get that shutout.
"We're pleased with the fact we've made some strides. We're going to continue to work hard and make ourselves better and continue to create more scoring opportunities for ourselves. It would have been nice for this team to be playing the same way at the beginning of the season, but it's a process. We knew it was going take some time before we started to get more and more competitive. It is good to see that late in the season when guys could easily find a way not to compete. They stayed in it and they fought, and that's why I'm extremely proud of these guys this season."
Army concludes its 2010 campaign on Saturday, Nov. 6, when the Black Knights travel to Worcester, Mass., to battle Patriot League rival Holy Cross. Kickoff for the season finale is slated for 3 p.m.
"We're confident going into the weekend," added Payne. "We still have our eyes on the prize. We know what we want to do on Saturday. We know how we can finish the Patriot League and continue to build the respectability of this program."
Notes: Army is now 22-2-1 all-time versus Manhattan ... the Jaspers saw their two-game series win streak snapped ... the Black Knights have posted two shutouts in season for the first time since posting six blankings during the 2007 campaign ... Robertson leads Army with three goals and nine points ... Army's two home victories are the most for the program since winning six home games during the 2007 season.