WEST POINT, N.Y. - Senior midfielder Kelley Robbins buried a pass from Caroline Rice into Navy's net in the 67th minute and Army made that stand as the Black Knights defeated the Midshipmen, 1-0, in the Star Match Friday evening at Clinton Field for their first Patriot League regular-season win over their counterparts since 2005 and first decision at home since 2004.
Army, playing before a packed crowd of 4,000-plus fans who filled the stands and lined both sides of the field and behind the goals, improved to 11-3 overall and 2-0 in the conference following its 11th shutout win. The Black Knights, who are No. 1 in the NCAA statistical rankings in shutout percentage, closed to within two of the school mark of 13 blankings set in 1993. Navy, picked second in the conference's preseason poll to Army's seventh, fell to 8-6-1 overall and 1-1-0 in league play.
In a typical Army-Navy match, the Black Knights and Midshipmen battled to a scoreless first half deadlock with host Army holding an 8-3 shot advantage. Senior goalkeeper Alex Lostetter, who made three saves in recording her sixth shutout of the year and career 26th, nixed Navy's most dangerous attempt on a sliding stop in the first half as she went on-on-one with Christine Calderon.
Just over 17 minutes into the game, Robbins took a pass from Kim An and booted it into the Navy goal, but it was nullified by an offsides call. Two minutes later a close shot by Carlie Turnnidge was high, while in the 31st minute freshman Donna Bennett took a long shot heading toward the near left post that was snagged by Navy keeper Hannah Legler.
Navy's third and final shot on goal in the opening half came in the final seconds of the game with Army pulling up with a team save as a defender knocked away a shot off a loose ball in front of the goal to head into the locker room scoreless.
The second half opened with Navy getting off four of the first five shots, but only one was on goal, that a header off a free kick in the 53rd minute. The momentum switched in the 65 minute with Army taking three shots over a one minute span and connecting on the last of that group. Taking her first shot of the second half and second of the game, Robbins drilled a 16-yard shot into the far left corner of the net at the 66:46 mark following a cross from Rice. Both the goal and game winner are the second of the Army co-captain's career while the helper is Rice's team-leading third assist of the season.
"I was hoping my shot would go in," said Robins following the second win over Navy in her Army career. "The game was going our way most of the time and we had a lot of opportunities to put one away. As soon as I got off the shot, I knew it was solid going to the left corner."
Army just missed a chance for an insurance goal in the 70th minute when the keeper was out of position, but Deanna Clegg's shot went wide of the inside left corner of the post .
Lostetter was called on to make just one save in the second half, but was kept busy as the Midshipmen took seven shots, the most dangerous with just over a minute left when an attempt heading toward the goal went wide.
"I feel we had our chances and Navy had there's," said Lostetter, who notched her second career win against the Midshipmen. "The first half was a typical Army-Navy game. You come out nervous and you have the jitters, and after that we calmed down and played our game. In the end we won and Kelley's (Robbins) shot was amazing for a great finish to a great game."
The win is the first over Navy for Army coach Stefanie Golan and second on the sideline having been on the staff as the associate head coach two years ago when the Black Knights defeated top-seeded Navy, 1-0, for the Patriot League Tournament title and first NCAA bid in school history.
"It is great getting the win today, and these rivalry games are what people live for," said Golan. "It was a typical rivalry game that went back and forth and both teams had opportunities. We stayed strong defensively, and continued to play and create opportunities. I am so happy for Kelley Robbins to be the one to bury the ball into the net. It feels good and the team is pumped and we will now focus on American."
The Black Knights close out the home portion of their slate hosting American Sunday afternoon on Senior Day at Clinton Field.
NOTES: This is the 12th Army-Navy game decided by a goal and the Black Knights hold a 9-3 advantage ... it is the 15th blanking in the series with Army notching its sixth with another ending in a scoreless draw ... Army's next shutout will tie the second best school mark of 12 set in 2008 ...followed the win, Alex Lostetter was picked up and hugged by her brother, a graduate of the Naval Academy ... Sunday's game against American will be the final one for four seniors - Alex Lostetter, Kelley Robbins, Candice Bryan and Carlie Turnnidge.