WEST POINT, N.Y. - Junior Lindsay Gordon came off the bench and scored six minutes into the sudden death overtime to lift Army to a 1-0 victory over Lehigh in the Patriot League women's soccer debut for both teams in a game played under the lights before 550 fans Friday evening at Clinton Field.
The victory boosted Army's record to 9-3-0 and 1-0-0 in the league following its 14th Patriot League season opening win, while snapping the Mountain Hawks' four game unbeaten mark as they fell to 4-2-2.
With just four minutes left to play in the first overtime, Gordon, who was just inside the box, received a cross from Julia Stallard that she converted with a shot into the back of the Lehigh net for her first goal of the season and career second Army Army posted its third win in its last four games.
"It is great to start off Patriot League with a win and it is on our home turf," said Gordon following her first career game winner. "The season starts now because everything that happened before doesn't count."
The Black Knights took control of the momentum in the first half taking six shots while not allowing the Mountain Hawks to get one off along with a 6-0 corner kick advantage. Two of Army's shots were on goal, the second the most dangerous six minutes prior to halftime following a corner kick by Carlie Turnnidge resulting in a scramble in front of the net. Lehigh goalkeeper Lauren Mains' sliding save prevented the Black Knights from capitalizing.
Lehigh outshot the Black Knights 9-4 in the second half with Army senior co-captain Kelley Robbins getting off back-to-back shots within a span of 1:33 late in regulation, but Mains was there to make the saves. Army goalkeeper Alex Lostetter was kept busy keeping Lehigh off the scoreboard making all four of her saves within a 15-minute span in the second half. Isabelle Li just missed capitalizing on a loose ball rebound following Lostetter's save on Lena Cannon's shot in the 69th minute. Six minutes later Li missed corralling the ball off a corner kick that Lostetter quickly recovered.
With the momentum back on Army's side, the Black Knights entered overtime with Caroline Rice taking the first shot on goal just a minute into the period. Shortly after that rejection, Army's Lostetter grabbed a cross into the box by Lehigh's Glynn Fitzer to nix that threat. Army's second shot in overtime, an eight-yarder by Gordon found it way into the net for the game winner as the Black Knights, who outshot Lehigh 12-9 along with a 8-3 corner kick advantage, posted their fifth one-goal decision this season.
Army claimed its ninth shutout win of the season and is off to its best start after 12 games since a 9-1-2 showing in 2002. The win is also the first over the Mountain Hawks since 2005 as the Black Knights pulled out to a 14-4-3 lead in the series that begin in 1991.
"We are still young and sometimes it is forgotten because we have done so well," said Army coach Stefanie Golan. "With youth come inconsistencies which we talked about early in the season. Right now we continue to refocus on those little pieces where the game tends to get away from us. When we play well, we are in on the other team's end for a long period of time.
"Lehigh is a very good team and I expect them to do well in the league this year. They are always a team that is tough to play against. They move the ball well and that is why it was such a good game tonight. Both teams like to possess so we had a lot of opportunities that we missed and they had a couple of close ones as well."
In discussing the winning goal, Golan explained that "in the first half Lindsay (Gordon) played in the back, then we moved her up because she is a versatile player who can do what is needed. Just before she went back in prior to her goal, we pointed out to her the one thing that was missing was not getting in on the backside when service is coming in. We were there, but not getting in and that is funny because that is how the goal was scored."
The Black Knights close out the non-league portion of their schedule hosting Pennsylvania, a member of the Ivy League, Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m.
NOTES: It is just the second overtime game this season and Army's first win in the extra session ... Army had five freshmen in the starting lineup from forward to midfield and in the back along with two more drawing duty off the bench ... this is the Patriot League's 21st season for women's soccer and Army's 25th anniversary ... it is Army's first win at home over the Mountain Hawks since 2003 ... in other league action this evening, Navy defeated Colgate 2-0 on the road ... the Midshipmen were picked second in the league behind the defending champion Raiders ... Army's next league game is against Navy on Oct. 8 at West Point and is being carried tape dely on Fox Soccer Channel.