WEST POINT, N.Y. - Posting its tenth shutout win of the season, the Army women's soccer team made Kim An's first half goal stand in its 1-0 blanking of the University of Pennsylvania in a non-league game Sunday afternoon at sun-splashed Clinton Field. The win is the second straight and fourth in the last five games as the Black Knights improve to 10-3-0 while the Quakers' season mark was leveled at 5-5-0.
Army controlled the tempo of the game in the first half as it led 7-4 in shots with An taking all four shots on goal. The Black Knights got on the scoreboard in the 25th minute as freshman Melissa McLaws passed the ball forward to Lindsay Gordon who crossed it to An in the box. An's header hit the crossbar and dropped just in front of her into the goal, but to make certain she booted it deeper into the net for her team leading eighth goal of the season. Penn's lone shot on goal in the first half came in the 36th minute but was rejected by Monica Lee as Army took a 1-0 lead into the locker room.
"I received a great cross from Lindsay (Gordon) and I was running in and she put it to my head and I headed it," explained the freshman midfielder in picking up her fourth game winner. "I saw the ball hit the crossbar and fall in but I followed it up so there would be no question as to the goal."
Penn applied the pressure it the second half attacking down the flanks and in the middle in outshooting the Black Knights 12-4 but the Quakers didn't create very dangerous scoring opportunities with Lee rejecting both shots on goal within a span of five minutes. The most dangerous attempt was by Alex Dayneka as Lee made a sliding save near the right post in the 55th minute. Though getting off just four shots, the Black Knights had two on goal coming early in the second half on shots by Gordon and Kelley Robbins just two minutes apart and just over five minutes into the second half.
In goal, Army's Lee finished with three saves to improve to 5-1 following her fifth shutout of the season and career seventh. She has allowed just two goals in 550 minutes in goal in showing a 0.33 goals-against average and .909 save percentage.
Penn outshot Army 16-11 and had both corner kicks one in each half, while goalkeeper Caroline Williams made five saves, three in the first half and two in the second half.
"Penn is a great team and probably one of the best teams we will play this year," said head coach Stefanie Golan. "We came into the game knowing it would be a difficult one for us. We would have to bring out our best at the beginning of the game to get through the first 45 minute and hopefully put one in the back of the net. We did and the goal was brilliant with an excellent finish. We were excited to be out on top and knew in the second half Penn would be frustrated because we did have the majority of the play and we knew they would be more direct, which they were, but we just weathered the storm."
"It was a team effort on the goal by Kim. Mel (McLaws) played a brilliant ball to Lindsay (Gordon) who made an amazing run and her service and Kim's finish was excellent. Kim works hard and puts herself in a good position, and we as a team help her find the back of the net."
Army returns to Patriot League play next weekend with a challenging schedule taking on Navy Friday evening (the game will be on tape delay on Fox Soccer Channel) and American Sunday in closing out its home slate. The Midshipmen are tied with Army and Bucknell for first place in league play as all three opened with wins this weekend.
The Black Knights will be looking for their first league win over Navy since a 1-0 victory in 2005 in Annapolis, Md. The Black Knights' last win over Navy was in the championship finals of the Patriot League Tournament when the Black Knights defeated the top seeded and host Midshipmen, 1-0, to win the title and their first-ever NCAA bid.
"I feel we are prepared for Navy," noted Golan. "One of the last things we talked about is taking another step toward the goal of making the Patriot League Tournament which puts us in a position to go to the NCAA Tournament. The Army-Navy game is a big rivalry, but it is another league game and if we allow the emotions to take over at some point you crash when you get on an emotional high. If we harness our emotions and energy in the right way into what we do as a team, then I feel very good about that game."