NEWARK, N.J. - Junior Deanna Clegg and freshman Joey Molacek tallied second half goals just five minutes apart to lead the Army women's soccer team to a 2-0 blanking of New Jersey Institute of Technology at Lubetkin Field Friday evening. The shutout is Army's eighth in the last nine games as the Black Knights improved to 8-2-0, while the host Highlanders fell to 1-7-1.
After a slow start in the first half, Army took control of the game in the second half and capitalized when NJIT was whistled for its fourth foul just outside the box from the end line. Clegg connected on a left footed free kick that hit the inside back of the post in the 69th minute for all the scoring needed as Army stretched its series win streak over the Highlanders to 3-0. The goal is Clegg's first of the season and the ninth of her career along with picking up her third game winner.
Molacek added the insurance goal in the 74th minute after burying the rebound in the net off of classmate Kim An's shot. The goal is the freshman forward's second of the season and first game winner, while An picked up her second assist to boost her team-high point total to 16 (7 goals, 2 assists).
Army outshot NJIT 5-3 in the second half and 9-7 for the game after both booted four shots in the first half. Army keeper Monica Lee made two of her three saves in the first half while nixing NJIT's final attempt by Kori Washing with less than five minutes remaining. Lee improved to 4-1 following her fourth shutout of the season and career sixth.
"We came out flat in the first half," said Army coach Stefanie Golan, "and we never got a chance to settle in. We allowed NJIT to put us under more pressure than we needed to be. This is a tough place to play, but we came out and played better in the second half. It was a very physical game and our players battled through it."
"It was nice to see Dee (Clegg) score off that direct kick. She had worked in practice with her left foot and got the opportunity tonight and it hit off the inside post into the back of the net."
Army bettered last year's win total (seven) as well as goals (14) in notching its eighth victory along with its 15th and 16th goals after scoring a pair in the second half for the first time this season. The Black Knights' 8-2 record after 10 games is its best since 2003, while its eight shutouts are four shy of the mark set in 2008 when Army captured the Patriot League title and first-ever NCAA bid posting a 12-6-3 mark. All eight blankings this season have been wins, while Army posted a 9-0-3 shutout mark two years ago.
The Black Knights, who have allowed just three goals in 10 games, visit Fordham on Sunday in closing out a three-game road slate in its final tune-up prior for its Patriot League debut against Lehigh at Clinton Field on Oct. 1. Army leads the all-time series against the Rams with a 6-0-1 mark with last year's double overtime draw the first tie in the series.
Golan continues to take one game at a time and right now she is just looking at Sunday's game against Fordham, a member of the Atlantic 10. "It will be a physical game and we have to be ready to settle in and play the way we need to," noted the second year coach. "We have to possess the ball, play quickly and take advantage of opportunities. That is one of the things we have done better this year than previous years - creating a lot of quality opportunities through the flow of play."
NOTES: Kim An has been involved in scoring in the last seven games of the season, tallying a goal in the first six followed by an assist ...eight different players have scored goals with four freshman accounting for 11 of the Black Knights' 16 goals ... Army's two goalkeepers, Monica Lee and Alex Lostetter, each have four shutouts and 4-1 marks ... Lostetter is ranked No. 2 nationally in save percentage (.938) and in goals-against average (0.200), while Lee is equally as stingy with an 0.39 GAA and .895 save percentage ...Army has won its last two games via shutout after having its six-game win streak snapped in a 2-1 overtime heartbreaker to Brown.