Nov. 5, 2011
HAMILTON, N.Y. -
Fourth-seeded Army is just one win away from capturing its third Patriot League title after moving into Sunday's championship game with a 2-0 blanking over top-seed Colgate Friday evening. Third-seeded Navy won the other semifinal match with a 3-2 victory over No. 2 Lafayette.
Sophomore Joey Molacek scored both of Army's goals, and senior goalkeeper Monica Lee made seven saves as the Black Knights moved into the Patriot League Championship for the second straight year and 10th time overall.
The Black Knights will be looking to capture their third tournament title and second in the last four years when they take on arch-rival Navy for bragging rights and the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament Sunday afternoon, 1 p.m., at Van Doren Field on the campus of Colgate University.
It is the first time that Army has advanced to the championship finals in five tries as the No. 4 seed. The previous four times were 1998, 2003, 2004 and 2007. Army tied top-seeded Colgate 1-1 (2OT) in 2004, but lost to the Raiders on penalty kicks (3-1).
Army and Navy will be meeting for the fourth time in the Patriot Tournament and second in the championship finals. Third-seeded Army upset No. 1 Navy in 2008 for its first NCAA bid in school history and first tournament title since 1993.
The Black Knights squandered a 2-0 first half lead in suffering a 3-2 heartbreak to Navy at Glenn Warner Stadium on Oct. 21 for their lone league loss of the season and first since 2009.
Army and Navy will be meeting for the 23rd time in a series that begin in 1994 when they square off against each on Sunday. The Midshipmen hold a slim 11-9-2 lead, but the teams show a 2-2-1 mark in the last four meetings with three of the wins by a goal and the other by two goals. Army edged Navy 1-0 in 2008 and 2010, and the Midshipmen rallied for a 3-2 win over the Black Knights last month, along with a 2-0 win in 2009. The regular-season league game in 2008 ended in a 0-0 double overtime draw.
Army (11-3-5, 3-1-3 PL) is unbeaten in its last three games with a 3-0 win over American and 0-0 (2OT) draw with Lafayette in closing out the regular-season followed by Friday's 2-0 upset of No. 1 seed Colgate.
The Black Knights' 26 goals this season are the most scored since recording 35 in 2005. Army's defense, ranked nationally throughout this season, has yielded just nine goals in 19 games, along with 14 shutouts - two shy of the school-record 16 set last year. The Black Knights have compiled 30 shutouts over 40 games the past two seasons.
Army's senior class - Dee Clegg, Lindsay Gordon, Errin Helbling, Monica Lee and Julia Stallard - were freshmen on the Black Knights last championship team in 2008.
Sophomore Kim An, a two-time first-team all-star, leads the Black Knights and league in scoring with nine goals and four game winners. Molacek moved into second place in scoring for the Black Knights with five goals and a pair of assists for 12 points. Helbling and Ruthie Rosenberger have three goals each, along with a pair by Clegg.
Lee, a starter in all 19 games, shows a stingy 0.45 GAA and a school single-season record 14 shutouts.