ST. LOUIS, Mo. Freshman Deanna Clegg scored six minutes into the second half, and classmate Monica Lee pulled up with a pair of key saves as Army made that stand in a 1-0 defeat of Missouri State in the opening round of the 11th annual Toys for Tots/Military Academies Classic hosted by Saint Louis Friday evening at Hermann Stadium.
The Black Knights improved to 3-1 with the win, while snapping the Bears (3-2) three-game shutout streak. It is the first time that Army has won its opening game at the tournament since defeating Wright State, 1-0, in 2001.
Army took charge of the game in the second half, outshooting Missouri State by a 16-4 margin after matching six shots with them in the first half. Clegg, tallying her team-high second goal of the season, converted a pass from junior Elizabeth Betterbed with a looping shot from the corner of the box over the goalkeeper’s head into the far post in the 51st minute.
The Black Knights had taken three of the first four shots of the second half with Clegg’s second shot of the half and fourth of the game finding its way into the goal after having a shot rejected by Jackie Jasper three minutes prior to the game winner.
Army pulled up short in its bid for the insurance goal with Christine O’Leary’s wide open shot going high in the 69th minute. Caitlyn Gallagher’s shot a little over seven minutes later went off the finger tips of Jasper, and Molly Byrnes just missed getting a foot on the rebound.
A corner kick by Elizabeth Betterbed in the 80th minute was controlled by Pia White, whose backhanded kick went off the leg of Dymon Washington and was headed for the goal when Jasper made the stop. Army ripped off four of the final five shots over the time left with Jasper rejecting Washington’s shot with six minutes left, while two other attempts were blocked with the final shot in the 87th minute by White going wide.
Lee made four saves, two in each half, in her first collegiate start and Army’s first shutout of the season. Her first save of the second half was a sliding effort nixing Tara Bailes’ shot n the 64th minute en route to improving to 2-0.
The Black Knights held a 22-10 shot advantage and a 6-5 margin in corner kicks. Clegg and Washington shared the lead for shots as each ripped off a game-high six.
“We were a different team in the second half,” explained long-time Army mentor Gene Ventriglia. “We made an adjustment in the second half and it resulted in us not only scoring but dominating play.”
Army, opening a seven-game road slate at the tournament, faces Missouri State on Sunday at 12 p.m. The game will be on Knight Vision with Bob Geller calling play-by-play.
NOTES: The Black Knights captured the inaugural Military Academies Classic in 1997 ... three freshen have accounted for four of Army’s six goals, while plebe Monica Lee has not allowed a goal in 146 minutes drawing duty in three of four games ... Army has outshot its opponents 97-44 this season along with holding a commanding 26-11 corner kick advantage ... the 3-1 start is Army’s best since going 5-1 in 2005.