Women's Soccer Begins Quest For PL Tournament Title Tuesday

Army Black Knights

Army Black Knights

Nov. 4, 2013

Patriot League Tournament Central

Patriot League Network

WEST POINT, N.Y. - After earning the fourth seed for the 2013 Patriot League Tournament, the Army women's soccer team (8-7-3, 4-2 PL) begins its quest for the championship title and automatic NCAA bid when it hosts fifth-seeded American (6-11-1, 4-4-1 PL) in a quarterfinal round Tuesday, 7 p.m., under the lights at Clinton Field.

With the Patriot League expanded to 10 teams with the addition of Boston University and Loyola, the women's soccer tournament was expanded to a six-team field with the top two seeds -Navy (15-4-0, 8-1-0 PL) and Boston University (13-3-3, 8-1-0 PL) - earning quarterfinal round byes. The Midshipmen will host the semifinals and championship matches of the tournament for the second straight year at Glenn Warner Soccer Facility.

The winners of the Army-American and the Colgate-Bucknell quarterfinal rounds advance to the semifinals at Glenn Warner Soccer Facility on Friday (Nov. 8). The host Midshipmen face the lowest advancing seed from the quarterfinals at 3:30 p.m. with second-seeded Boston University taking on the other quarterfinal winner at 7:30 p.m. The winners of the semifinals square off for the Patriot League Tournament title and automatic NCAA Tournament bid on Sunday (Nov. 10) at 1 p.m.

After going through some ups and downs during the season, Army peaked at the right time as it turned the corner closing out its regular-season conference slate on a three-game win streak. The Black Knights overcame 1-0 deficits in come-from-behind wins over Holy Cross (2-1, 2OT) and Lafayette (3-1) at the start of that run to clinch the final sixth spot to the tournament. Army then handed Navy its first conference loss in the regular-season finale that propelled the Black Knights to the fourth seed and a home quarterfinal game.

Sophomore forward Katie Holder, the league's reigning Offensive Player of the Week and a third-team All-Patriot League selection, snapped Navy's eight-game league unbeaten and unscored upon streak when she tallied in the 17th minute. The goal was her fourth of the season and team-leading third game winner.

The shutout was Army's second in league play with freshman goalkeeper Jordan Cassalia making three of her four stops in the second half to earn a team-best league third weekly citation of the season. Army's last line on defense, Cassalia shows a 0.95 goals against average and five solo shutouts.

Four-time first team all-league defender Molly McGuigan, who also snagged league weekly honors for her performance against Navy, anchored Army's backline that held the Mids to just two shots in the first half as Army built a 2-0 lead. The shutout is Army's sixth of the season after holding Navy scoreless for the first time in conference play this season.

Offensively, Army is led by first team all-league stalwarts Kimberly An and Joey Molacek, who combined with third-team all-league pick Holder for 16 of the Black Knights' 23 goals, seven of 17 assists and six of eight game winners. The trio accounted for six of Army's last seven goals.

American enters Tuesday's contest in the midst of a three-game losing streak following league losses to Loyola (2-0), Boston University (1-0) and Colgate (2-1). The Raiders' 1-0 edging of America Saturday night clinched the No. 3 seed and quarterfinal hosting duties for Colgate (10-6-1, 6-2-1 PL), who take on sixth-seed Bucknell (7-9-1, 4-4-1 PL) Tuesday evening in Hamilton, N.Y.

The Eagles, who earned their second straight berth to the Patriot League Tournament and first back-to-back selection since 2004, won the tie breaker with Bucknell for fifth place after finishing the season tied for that spot with 13 points.

Four Eagles earned All-Patriot League honors starting with second-team picks Lindsay Muri (F) and Kirsten Eriksen (D), with Shaena Alfonsi (M) and Charlene Belanger (GK) named to the third unit. Muri is American's scoring leader recording six of the Eagles' 13 goals with a team-high four game winners to rank among the league's scoring leaders. Belanger lists second in the league in saves (95) and is third in GAA (0.89).

ARMY-AMERICAN STATISTICAL COMPARISON

    • Shots - Army 286, American 166
    • Goals-Army 23, American 13 *Points-Army 63, American 41
    • GAA-Army 0.95, American 1.04
    • Saves-Army 62, American 118
    • Corners- Army 105, American 55

ARMY-AMERICAN SERIES

  • Army and American played to a scoreless tie at West Point on Oct. 13 for the sixth draw in the series.
  • The Black Knights held a 29-8 shot advantage in that outing.
  • American's Charlene Belanger made nine saves in the game with two in overtime, and Army's Jordan Cassalia posted her first save in regulation and her second in the first overtime period.
  • American holds a slim 5-3-6 lead in the all-time series with Army unbeaten in the last four matches.
  • Army and American are meeting for the second time in the Patriot League Tournament with the Eagles edging the Black Knights in the semifinals, 1-0, as the host school in 2003.
  • Army and American have met eight times at West Point with each winning twice along with four draws in the series that began in 2001.

HOW TO FOLLOW ARMY'S QUARTERFINAL MATCH

  • All five rounds of the tournament will air live for free on Patriot League Network.
  • The link for the Army-American match provided by the Patriot League can be found on the women's soccer team's schedule page on Army's official website (www.goARMYsports.com). Live stats will also be available and in-game Twitter updates will be offered via the women's soccer team's official handle (@Army_WSoccer)
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