Aug. 25, 2012
EL PASO, Texas -
Junior midfielder Joey Molacek tallied both goals in the second half, and sophomore Linda Rosas made six saves in leading Army to a 2-1 win over Texas State in the Black Knights' opening round of the Border Classic hosted by UTEP at University Field Friday evening.
Following a scoreless first half, Molacek scored her first goal of the game just three minutes into the second half after corralling a loose ball and sending it into the right corner of the net for a 1-0 lead. That proved short lived as the Bobcats (1-2-0), who won the Southland Conference last year, countered with a goal just over four minutes later at 52:32 on a sliding shot by Taylor Person to knot the score 1-1.
Rosas pulled up with her first save of the second half two minutes later followed by a Texas State shot that hit the crossbar in the 57th minute. The defense on both sides limited shots over the next twenty minutes with Army freshman Anna Lail firing a shot on goal that was saved by Bobcat keeper Caitlyn Rinehart in the 64th minute followed by the Black Knights' lone corner kick by Katie Holder at 65:41. The Bobcats only shot during that span was blocked in the 76th minute.
Molacek snapped the tie with her second goal and first game winner of the season off an assist from freshman Bailey Widman at 78:54. Molacek buried a cross from Widman into the lower left corner of the Bobcats' net, and Rosas was only called upon to make one save over the time remaining, that in the 81st minute, as Army made that lead stand.
The goals were the ninth and 10th career markers for Molacek, and the game winner is her fourth. It is the second time in her career that Molacek scored twice in a game, equaling the mark she set last year in a 2-0 upset win over top-seeded Colgate in the semifinals of the Patriot League Tournament. Army went on to capture the tournament title, and Molacek was named MVP as the Black Knights earned the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Texas State outshot Army 12-8, but Rosas was equal to the task in her second start of the season. The native of Granada Hills, Calif., pulled up with four saves in the first half, including back-to-back stops just a minute apart on attempts by Sydney Curry, who had a game-high three shots. After being touched for her lone goal of the season in the second half, Rosas pulled up with two more saves in posting a season-high six stops to improve to 2-0-0.
"Linda made more saves than I wanted her to have to make tonight," said Fred Thompson, Army's interim head coach, "but she played well. It was a solid team performance all-around. We learned from the Providence game (Army lost 3-1 last week), and we improved upon handling physical pressure and the way we attacked and moved the ball.
"It is a work in progress for us. Every game we try to get a little bit better, and I think we took what we learned from Providence and accomplished that today."
The Black Knights take on host UTEP Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. EDT in closing out tournament play. Both Army and the Miners are 1-0 in the tournament following wins over Texas State. UTEP (2-1-0) defeated the Bobcats 3-1 Wednesday evening.
"UTEP will be a good challenge for us," noted Thompson. "They didn't play tonight, so they will be well rested by Sunday. They are an aggressive team with decent size and can score goals. It will be a good test for us, and a chance for us to see if we can put together Friday-Sunday wins."
ON THE PITCH: Joey Molacek leads Army with two goals and an assist for five points ... the Black Knights have scored six goals this season ... Linda Rosas shows a 0.67 goals-against average and nine saves ... the meeting with Texas State Friday and the upcoming one with UTEP on Sunday are first time.