Sept. 27, 2012
WEST POINT, N.Y. -
The Army women's soccer team kicks off its Patriot League season Saturday afternoon, 1 p.m., taking on Holy Cross at Linda Johnson Smith Soccer Stadium in Worcester, Mass. The defending Patriot League Tournament champion Black Knights were picked second in the conference's preseason poll with the Crusaders listed eighth.
Fans unable to make the trek to Massachusetts can follow the action through live stats by logging onto Army's website and navigating to the women's soccer schedule page. In-game Twitter updates will also be offered via the official handle of Army women's soccer (@Army_WSoccer). The game will be broadcast live online on Crusader Vision (http://bit.ly/THkY6l) for a nominal fee.
Army has enjoyed immense success in Patriot League openers, posting a 15-3-2 record since the inaugural year in 1990. The Black Knights are unbeaten in their last six conference openers to include shutouts in the last four games. It is the second straight year that Army has opened conference play with Holy Cross, and Sunday's match is the seventh time meeting in the opener with the Black Knights unbeaten at 5-0-1 posting four shutouts over the Crusaders.
The Black Knights head into the contest with a 5-6-0 mark after closing out the non-league portion of their schedule with a 3-2 win over Columbia that put the skids to a two-match losing streak. It was just the second time that Army scored three goals since a 3-1 win over Providence in August. Freshman Candace Stewart and juniors Joey Molacek and Kim An tallied goals in the win with An scoring the game winner on a penalty kick that put Army up 3-1.
An and freshman goalkeeper Jessica McAllister, who recorded a season-high seven saves, earned Patriot League honorable mention honors for their performances. McAllister, earning her second start, turned aside a penalty kick in the second half.
An and Molacek are tied for the team lead with four goals and 10 points in scoring each. Freshman Katie Holders is first in assists (three) to rank among the league's top scorers. An lists second in game winners (three) and is tied for third in shots (32).
Sophomore goalkeeper Linda Rosas has drawn the majority of duty as a starting in nine games. She shows 1.41 goals-against average along with a pair of shutouts. McAllister has drawn duty in three games with a pair of starts compiling a 2.40 GAA.
Army stands in the upper half of the league standings in points (41), goals (14) and assists (13) along with a 1.63 GAA.
Holy Cross (4-5-1) is led by freshman Annie Galvin with four goals to rank tied with An and Molacek for seventh place in the league. She is the reigning Patriot League Rookie of the Week after tallying against New Hampshire as Holy Cross went 1-1-0 last week.
The Crusaders rank sixth in goals (12), assists (11) and scoring (35), but lead the league with a 1.16 GAA. Goalkeeper Carly McCabe stands first in the conference in GAA (0.69), save percentage (.891) and saves per game (5.86). She posted her third shutout in the Crusaders' 1-0 blanking of Manhattan last weekend to show a 3-2-1 mark. McCabe has shared cage duties with Ashlyn Angell (4-3-0) who has compiled a 2.21 GAA.
"I am excited about starting Patriot League," said Army interim head coach Fred Thompson. "Everyone on the team is pumped, and we had a very good session yesterday with lots of energy. I know the team wants to get going.
"We will look to tweak a few things that will help us specifically for the Holy Cross game, and hopefully we can repeat the three-goal performance we had against Columbia. We have a pretty good feeling and spirit about the team with good vibes going on, and we will try to keep that going."
Army is unbeaten in its last 16 meetings with Holy Cross, whose last win was in 1995. The Black Knights blanked the Crusaders in the last two meetings, taking a 2-0 decision last year and 1-0 the previous year to hold a 17-4-3 lead.