WEST POINT, N.Y. Army senior co-captain Silvia Longo converted a penalty kick in the 59th minute and assisted on what proved to be the game winner eight minutes later as the Black Knights (4-3-0) held on to defeat Air Force (1-6-1) , 2-1, in an opening round game of the BAE Systems Classic at Clinton Field Friday evening.
Longo converted the first penalty kick of her career when she beat Air Force keeper Erin Wallace with a shot to the right corner of the net to snap a scoreless deadlock in recording her second goal this season . The Mahopac, N.Y., native then set up Army’s next tally eight minutes later when she crossed the ball to freshman Elizabeth Betterbed, who was streaking down the left side of the field. Betterbed drilled a 30-yard shot into the opposite far post in the 68th minute to boost Army’s lead to 2-0.
Air Force averted the shutout when it capitalized off a scramble in front of Army’s net when Brittney Perkowski tapped in a loose ball in the 73rd minute.
The Black Knights did not allow the Falcons a shot over the time remaining. In the final 2:25, Army keeper Rebecca Garcia raced out of the net to beat Katherine Slogic to a long pass and nip any hopes the Falcons had of notching the equalizer.
Garcia finished with five saves, two in the second half, and Wallace made four stops as Army and Air Force each got off 11 shots. The Falcons held a 5-2 corner kick advantage.
Army freshman Therese Fox fired off her team-high three shots in the opening half. Fox’s first attempt just over six minutes into the game was high, while her second was wide
“We played as well as have played tonight,” noted Army head coach Gene Ventriglia, who is 2-0 versus Air Force at Clinton Field. “Unfortunately, the momentum changed when Air Force got that goal. We were a little tentative toward the end. But we held on and a lot of players got into the game, which is what it is all about.”
The Black Knights face NCAA participant Fairfield in the final round Sunday afternoon. The Stags defeated Delaware, 4-2, in the opening game of the BAE Systems Classic en route to posting their first win of the season, while snapping the Blue Hens unbeaten streak.
Army will be looking to capture its own tournament for the second time in its four-year history. The Black Knights captured the inaugural title in 2003 and finished runner-up last year.