Nov. 4, 2011
HAMILTON, N.Y. - Sophomore midfielder Joey Molacek scored both goals, and senior goalkeeper Monica Lee pulled up with seven saves, including a pair of late rejections, as No. 4 seeded Army defeated top-seed and host Colgate, 2-0, Friday evening in the semifinals of the Patriot League Women's Soccer Tournament at Van Doren Field.
The Black Knights (11-3-5) advance to Sunday's championship finals for the second straight year and 10th time overall. Army will play No. 3 Navy, a 3-2 winner over No. 2 seed Lafayette, in Sunday's championship game, 1 p.m., at Van Doren Field.
Molacek, a second-team all-league selection, scored her first goal just 5:26 into the game when she chipped the ball over Colgate goalkeeper Ashley Walsh's head into the upper right corner of the net. The shot was taken from the top of the box off a cross from senior Julia Stallard.
Colgate denied Army the insurance goal in the first half when senior Dee Clegg's breakaway shot was smothered by Wash for her lone save in that period.
Lee, a second team all-league selection, made three saves in the first half, the most dangerous midway through the period when she stopped a close shot at the 37:54 mark by Colgate's Jillian Kinter, the league's Offensive Player of the Year. Kinter was held to just three shots by Army's defense led by Defender Player of the Year Molly McGuigan.
Army, the league's top defensive team, was outshot 9-4 in the first period and traded eight shots with the Raiders in the second half to trail 17-12 as well as in corner kicks (6-2). The Black Knights had five shots on goal and converted two of those chances, while the Raiders, ranked first in the league in goals, points and assists, came up empty on seven attempts.
Lee, who made two of her three first half saves in the final three minutes of the first half, pulled up with two of her four second half saves late in the game with Army holding a slim 1-0 lead, The first in the 84th minute was a rejection of a shot by Danielle Wessler and less than two minutes later, Kinter tried to get one past Lee.
"We had a very good warm-up today," said Lee. "That kind of built my confidence up along with the talk we had with coach before the game. Colgate hasn't really gotten behind us except for once in the past couple of years, so I felt confident going into the game. It was awesome to beat Colgate at home."
Molacek scored her second goal of the night with just 18 seconds remaining when she beat Walsh on a low shot from 18 yards into the left corner of the net. Picking up the assist was Errin Helbling, a second team all-league pick.
"I had no idea when it left my foot if it was going in,' commented Molacek, but it worked out. It feels awesome. It was a good opportunity for the team and we really needed this win."
Molacek tallied her first multiple-goal effort to boost her season total to five goals and take over second place on the team in scoring with 12 points.
"Joey (Molacek) has been a consistent piece of our attack the entire year," said head coach Stefanie Golan. "Games where she is very involved, we do a lot better and generally create more opportunities. For Joey to get two goals in this kind of game is huge. She stepped up today and showed she is a big-time player.
Lee recorded her 14th shutout of the season and career 21st in denying Colgate as the Raiders fell for the second straight year to Army in the opening round. Last year the top-seeded Black Knights defeated No. 4 Colgate 1-0 in OT to advance to the finals.
"We have had a few games where we scored early here," noted Golan."That took a lot of pressure off of us early into the game.
"Monica (Lee) continues to be solid and has been great for us all year. Our defense once again bent a little bit, but we did not break and that is huge. There were a couple of close calls, but we also had a few other opportunities that we didn't put away.
"Winning 2-0 is something that we are excited about moving into the finals. As excited as we are, we have to move forward and have to focus and be ready for Sunday's game."
Army will be looking to capture its third team title on Sunday and the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. The Black Knights last won the title and its first-ever bid to the NCAA Tournament in 2008 when it defeated host and top-seeded Navy, 1-0, in overtime.