WEST POINT, N.Y. Second half insurance goals by Sarah Goss and Deanna Clegg along with a first-half tally by Erringer Helbling powered the Army’s women’s soccer team to a 3-0 blanking of regionally-ranked Central Connecticut State at Clinton Field Sunday afternoon as the Black Knights (7-4) closed out the non-league portion of their slate.
The Blue Devils, ranked eighth in the Northeast Region, slipped to 3-3-4. CCSU upset Connecticut, ranked 11th nationally in August, by a 2-1 score, while battling Patriot League preseason favorite Navy to a 0-0 double overtime draw in early September.
Army jumped onto the scoreboard with just over six minutes remaining in the first half when Helbling converted a pass from senior Amelia Janoski at the 38:20 mark. After beating goalkeeper Caity Casey to the pass, Helbling booted the ball into the left corner of open net for her first collegiate goal and what prove to be the game winner. The assist was Janoski’s career fourth.
Both teams had six shots in the first half with Army having two on goal and the Blue Devils one by Leah Blayney, stopped by Alex Lostetter just four minutes prior to Helbling’s tally.
Goss added an unassisted insurance goal just three minutes into the second half when she converted her own rebound 15 seconds after her first attempt was blocked. The goal was the second over the weekend for the senior co-captain and third of the season.
Army’s final tally was a combination by freshmen Dymon Washington and Clegg. Washington sent the ball forward to a streaking Clegg who scored on a breakaway goal after beating Casey with a booming shot to the right side of the net. The goal tied the Black Knights’ season-high set in a 3-1 debut win over over NJIT. The goal was Clegg’s third of the year and the helper was Washington’s third as she tops the team with 11 points (4 goals, 3 assists).
Lostetter pulled up with four saves in the second half and five for the game to improve to 5-4 following her third shutout and Army’s fourth of the season. Her last save of the game came on a 40-yard shot by Hannah Bromley with six minutes remaining.
Freshman Julia Stallard made a save on a header by Rachel Caneen that was careening to the right post 17 minutes into the second half as the Black Knights recorded six saves to CCSU’s four. The Blue Devils held a 16-14 shot advantage along with a 5-4 margin in corner kicks.
“Central Connecticut State is the most skilled team we have faced this year,” stated Army head coach Gene Ventriglia. “They are a very good seized team that is physical with seasoned veterans. They gave us some opportunities and we took advantage of them
“I was concerned heading into the game about their players size. I would have to say it is one of the best games we have played.
“I think we have a good idea of what we have and what combinations work in defining everyone’s role. I feel good about finishing 7-4 in the non-conference part of our schedule. We have a lot of young players and they did not show that today, they looked seasoned. The Washington-Clegg combination was a picture-perfect goal. “
Army, which just came off a seven-game road slate Friday, opens a four-game stretch in opening its Patriot League slate next weekend at Lafayette.
“I feel good heading into Patriot League,” continued the lone mentor in the history of the program. “We have played just as tough a non-league schedule as anyone and we did well. But it is not so much the record as it is where we are. I feel we are getting there and we are excited opening league play.”
NOTES: Army pulled ahead 2-1 in its series with CCSU ... it was the first game between the two teams since playing in 1996 and 1997 ... the Black Knights won 4-1 in 1997 ... Army’s seven wins ties last year’s total ... its 17 goals marks set the last two years (15 in 2007 and 16 in 2006) ... third time this season that Army has won stwo straight games ... the Black Knights have also won three of their last four.