Sept. 23, 2012
WEST POINT, N.Y. -
Junior forwards Joey Molacek and Kim An tallied goals within a span of 1:17 in the second half for a 3-1 lead and freshman goalkeeper Jessica McAllister stopped a penalty kick as the Black Knights held on to defeat Columbia, 3-2, in a non-league women's soccer match at Clinton Field Sunday afternoon.
The victory put the skids to the Black Knights' two-game losing streak and snapped the Lions (4-4-0) three-game shutout streak as Army (5-6-0) pulled ahead 13-7-0 in the all-time series.
Freshman Candace Stewart opened the scoring in the 38th minute when she beat goalkeeper Grace Redmon, who came out to challenge, with a 12-yard shot into the right side of the net for her first collegiate goal. Molacek picked up the assist in the game, her second of the season.
Army, outshooting Columbia 4-2 in the first half with three of its shots on goal, led 1-0 at halftime. The Lions, members of the Ivy League, scored the equalizer 1:28 into the second half on a goal by Elly McGuffog from 18 yards.
Shortly after, Army was whistled for a handball infraction in the box and Columbia was awarded a penalty kick. McAllister, a freshman playing in just her third game of the season was up for the challenge as she thwarted Alexa Yow's attempt.
"I had a lot of practice with penalty kicks in my high school and they are always hard to save," explained McAllister following the game after making seven saves, one shy of her season high. "I definitely didn't know if I was going to make the save or not. It's really hard to know which way that they're going to kick the ball, and really my decision was only a guess.
"I went with my gut and dove to my left thinking that her look was just to trick me. Luckily it was the right decision and I was able to save it."
Molacek broke the 1-1 tie with her fourth goal of the season when she tallied in close by the right side of the post off an assist from freshman Katie Holder (her third of the season) at 64:50.
Just over a minute later Columbia was called on a handball infraction in the penalty area, same as Army earlier in the half, but An converted her first PK of the season and it would prove to be the game winner. The goal is An's fourth of the season and career 23rd, while the game winner is her team-leading third of the season and career 11th.
"Most players have a specific shot when they take a penalty kick," commented An, "so I shoot the same shot every time. It is just like a routine shot. When I go up there I just think it is going in. I don't even look at the goalie; I just put my head down and just do my routine."
Just prior to that PK, An was thwarted on a close shot at Redmon when it went off her foot.
"I came close to scoring just prior to the PK," added An, "and I could not believe that the goalkeeper could made that save on my shot."
"Columbia is a very good team and it was a back-and-forth game. We just wanted to stick to our game plan. After Columbia scored right after the half, we kept pushing forward and worked hard."
Columbia drew to within a goal, 3-2, when it scored with 7:26 remaining on a header by Beverly Leon off an assist from Coleen Rizzo. Columbia had just one corner kick over the time remaining along with being hit with an offside's call.
Army and Columbia each had 16 shots with the Black Knights holding a 9-4 advantage in corner kicks.
Army starts a new season when it opens Patriot League competition taking to the road to take on Holy Cross Saturday (Sept. 29) at 1 p.m. The Black Knights are the defending Patriot League Tournament champions and were picked second in the preseason poll. The Crusaders were picked eighth.
"We went through a lot of different things to get ready for the Patriot League," commented Army interim head coach Fred Thompson. "This was our last test and was a little bit different style of play and system that we played before. We had to make some adjustments with a lot of different players coming in.
"We accomplished a lot today that I feel will help us. I think we could have defended better on Columbia's second goal but it happens. We were under a little pressure with different players on the field, and I wanted them to work their way through it and I thought in the end they did a good job. I think we held up well under that type of pressure.
"In the Patriot League we will take just one game at a time and focus on that and prepare for the Holy Cross game this week. When we are done with that, we will move on to the next game."