WEST POINT, N.Y. - Freshman Caroline Rice's tally 4:27 into the first overtime period lifted the Army women's soccer team to a 1-0 win over Lafayette for its first Patriot League victory of the season on a cold Saturday evening before a crowd of 200-plus hardy fans at Clinton Field.
The win snapped a four-game losing streak as the Black Knights improved to 6-8-2 overall and 1-2-1 in the Patriot League, while Leopards fell to 3-10-2 and 0-4-0 in the conference.
The two teams played a scoreless first and second half with host Army outshooting the Leopards 17-4 in the first 45 minutes and 13-7 in the second half with Lafayette keeper Lauren Smedley warding off all 10 shots on goal. The most dangerous opportunity for the Black Knights in regulation occurred just 10 minutes into the second half when Deanna Clegg booted a long, hard shot from the right sideline across the goalmouth to the opposite side that Smedley punched away. Just seconds later Lindsay Gordon, standing by the left post, tried to tap the ball into the net, but Smedley quickly smothered it.
In the 68th minute a high shot by Liz Betterbed just missed, instead hitting the crossbar, while Lafayette's best chance came with just under 14 minutes remaining in regulation. Nicole Brownell's header by the near right post off of Angela CamposBasso's corner kick was warded off by Army's Monica Lee. The sophomore goalkeeper, earning her second straight start this week and first shutout of the season and the team's seventh, made two of her three saves in the second half.
Smedley recorded her sixth and final save of the second half in the 84th minute on a shot by Paige Alexander in forcing the overtime issue.
The Black Knights continued controlling the tempo in the overtime period along with finding the back of the net when Rice beat Smedley with a 12-yard shot that ripped the right side of the net that was set in motion by a pass from Betterbed. The goal was Rice's second of the season and first game winner, while Betterbed recorded her team-high third assist of the season.
Army ended the game with a 32-11 shots advantage and held a slim 4-3 corner kick advantge. Clegg booted eight and Betterbed had seven shots, both season highs, while Rice, who took six shots, Clegg and Gordon had three shots on goal.
"I feel great because we just got a monkey off our back," smiled Army head coach Stefanie Golan. "We have had a rough time scoring and tonight we generated a lot of opportunities and had a hard time finding the back of the net. Now that we have, I think the girls feel really good and I expect some great things out of our last three games.
Army, playing its first game on the homefront in over 20 days in opening a four-game homestretch, has a pair of key league matches when it hosts Bucknell Thursday evening and Colgate Sunday afternoon.
NOTES: Army's 32 shots in tonight's game is a season high and is the first time the Black Knights ripped over 20 attempts ... the 11 shots on goal are one off Army's season high of 12 set last Sunday against American ... the win over the Leopards is the third straight in the series that it dominates 18-2-0 ... the overtime was Army's third this season ... ... in other league action today, Bucknell defeated Navy 3-1 to move into a tie for first place (3-1-0) with previously unbeaten American ... the Eagles were upset by Colgate, 1-0 in double overtime ... the loss was the first this season for the Midshipmen who are 2-1-1 and tied for third place with Colgate ... Lehigh and Holy Cross battled to a 0-0 double overtime draw ... the Mountain Hawks are in fifth place at 1-1-2 while the Crusaders and Army are tied for sixth with 1-2-1 records.