Army Hosts Lafayette In Key Conference Match

Elliott McGilbra

Elliott McGilbra

Oct. 28, 2011

WEST POINT, N.Y. - The Army men's soccer team will close out its home schedule on Sunday, Oct. 30, when the Black Knights host Patriot League rival Lafayette in a critical Patriot League match at Clinton Field. Kickoff for the conference tilt is slated for 3:30 p.m.

It will be Senior Day for the Black Knights and Army firsties Kris French, Cameron Jarvis, Blaz Marolt, Carson McReynolds, Jeff Pickett and Tanner Robertson will be honored in a special ceremony prior to the contest. Senior head manager Teddy Taggart will also be recognize with the group.

Live audio and video broadcasts of Sunday afternoon's contest will be available on Army's official athletics web site (www.goARMYsports.com) via ITT Knight Vision, the Black Knights' subscription-based multimedia platform. ITT Knight Vision will carry the Senior Day ceremony in its entirety.

Live stats for the match will also be available via GameTracker, and in-game Twitter updates will be offered as well (@ArmyAthletics).

Army (7-9-0, 2-3-0 PL) is still in contention to qualify for its first Patriot League Tournament since the Black Knights won the conference's regular-season and tournament titles in 1996. Army enters the weekend tied with Bucknell for sixth place in the conference standings, just one point behind both Navy and Lafayette for the fourth and final playoff spot.

An Army victory over Lafayette would significantly bolster the Black Knights' chances of making the tournament. An Army loss to the Leopards, however, would eliminate the Black Knights from postseason consideration. Army would also be eliminated if it were to tie Lafayette and Navy were to defeat Holy Cross.

After dropping three straight Patriot League matches, Army's prospects for a postseason berth looked bleak, but that all changed last Saturday when the Black Knights upended Bucknell, 2-1. That victory over the Bison, Army's first versus Bucknell since 2005, vaulted the Black Knights into the middle of the conference tournament discussion.

Junior Josh Koeppe, who failed to register a point over his first two seasons at the Academy, has blossomed offensively this season. The third-year midfielder leads Army in several offensive categories, topping the Black Knights in goals (four), points (10), shots (36), shots on goal (14) and game-winning goals (two). Koeppe, who also lists tied for second on the team with two assists, ranks among the top 10 in the Patriot League in goals, points, shots and game-winning goals.

Junior Trent Brown (three goals, two assists) and freshman Elliott McGilbra (two goals, three assists), who list second and third on the team in scoring, respectively, have been productive offensive players this season for the Black Knights.

Brown and freshman Kyle Golonski netted second half goals on Wednesday to help Army overcome a 1-0 halftime deficit and defeat Adelphi. The Black Knights have won two straight matches and show a 5-5-0 record at Clinton Field. Army is 2-0-0 in home conference matches.

Freshman Winston Boldt, who was named the Patriot League BRINE Goalkeeper of the Week on Monday following his eight-save performance in Army's victory over Bucknell last Saturday, has started each of the last three matches for the Black Knights. He enters Sunday's matchup versus Lafayette showing a 1.56 goals-against average and a .762 save percentage.

Lafayette (7-5-3, 2-2-1 PL) got off to a fast start in conference play, but back-to-back overtime losses have the Leopards scrambling for a playoff spot as well. Lafayette scored a season-high three goals in its 3-1 victory over NJIT on Tuesday night.

The Leopards are led by a stingy defense, which has allowed a mere nine goals in 15 matches this season. Lafayette lists tied for second in the Patriot League with seven shutouts.

Lafayette's defense is backstopped by senior goalkeeper Graham Heydt, who ranks second in the Patriot League in save percentage (.897), third in goals-against average (0.60) and tied for third in shutouts (five).

Juniors Kyle Scharfenberg and Blake Fink a Lafayette offense that has scored multiple goals in a match just three times this season. Scharfenberg and Fink lead with four goals each, while Scharfenberg tops the squad with 10 points.

Army and Lafayette have met 39 times previously in a series that began in 1925. The Black Knights enter this afternoon's match holding a slim 16-14-9 advantage in the all-time series. The two teams played to a 1-1 double-overtime draw last season in Easton, Pa.

Lafayette has posted a 6-0-4 record versus Army over the last 10 years. The Black Knights' last victory over the Leopards dates back to a 5-1 win during the 2000 season. Army's last home victory over Lafayette came in 1996 when the Black Knights posted a 2-0 win en route to the Patriot League title.

Following Sunday's home finale, Army will travel to Bethlehem, Pa., to take on Lehigh in the Black Knights' final regular-season game on Saturday, Nov. 5. Kickoff for the contest between the Black Knights and Mountain Hawks is slated for 7 p.m.

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