WEST POINT, N.Y. - Junior forward Erringer Helbling tallied a goal and assist and goalkeeper Monice Lee pulled up with all four saves in the second half to lead Army to a 3-0 women's soccer defeat of mid-Hudson Valley rival Marist in the nightcap of the Black Knight Classic Friday evening with over 2,500 partisan fans in attendance.
The Black Knights stretched their shutout streak to five straight in moving to 5-1 on the season for their best start since getting off to a 6-1 showing in 2005. The last time Army strung together five shutouts at the start of the season was in 1993 in putting together a school record run of 12 straight.
Helbling tallied her first game winner of the season and career second when she converted a pass from Julia Stallard from eight yards out at the 32nd minute mark on Army's sixth shot on goal. The Black Knights added a pair of insurance goals in the second half. The first came just under four minutes into the contest when Kim An, the reigning Patriot League "Rookie of the Week," headed a cross off double assists from Helbling and Kelley Robbins into the right corner of Marist net from six yards. The goal is An's fourth over the last three games to lead the team in scoring with nine points (4 goals, 1 assist). The helpers are career firsts for Helbling and Robbins.
"It is great being part of a team of girls who made this possible," said Helbling following her performance. "They are awesome and I could not have done it without them. It is a great environment and we are all working hard together. I am excited about our team this year. We are looking great and have to keep it up and not get complacent."
Freshman Katie Wacker closed out the scoring with an unassisted goal in the 83rd minute with a low show on a loose ball that beat the keeper from 12 yards for her first collegiate goal.
Lee is unscored upon in 270 minutes in goal to stand 3-0-0. She recorded all four stops in the second half with two late in the game, the last in the 73rd minute when Samantha Panzner volleyed a shot from the penalty kick area for her fifth career shutout and third of the season.
The Black Knights outshot Marist 11-3 in the first half and the Red Foxes led 15-7 in the second half as both finished with 18 shots. Army had 10 shots on goal with Robbins and Marist's Panzner each with a game-high four shots.
"We have been talking about what our goals are, and in order to achieve them we have to stay focused on the little things to make sure we can achieve the big ones," stated Army head coach Stefanie Golan. "The players are doing a very good job of staying true to those."
"Everybody is going to be tough. We worry about us and what we need to do and not who we play. As long as we continue to play the way this group can play, we will be fine."
Army closes out the tournament Sunday taking on Vermont, who fell 2-0 to Florida Gulf Coast in the tip-off game. The Black Knights, hosting their own tournament for the sixth time since 2003, will be in the hunt to capture the title since claiming it the inaugural year.
"Vermont is a difficult team to play against as they do a good job of getting numbers behind the ball and they wait for you to make a mistake. They are dangerous so we are taking them very seriously," added Golan.
Sunday's game versus Vermont will be on ITT Knight Vision (subscription based) on Army's website at www.goARMYsports.com.