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Women's Soccer

Navy Breaks Tie Late To Claim Women's Soccer Star

WEST POINT, N.Y. – In the annual Women's Soccer Star Match between Army and Navy, the Midshipmen earned a hard-fought 1-0 road victory on Friday night. Knotted in a stalemate through 73 minutes of action, Carolyn Mang (So., Forest Hill, Md.) found the back of the net as she flicked in a Baseley McClaskey (Sr., Grand Junction, Colo.) free kick from inside the 18-yard box. With the dramatic victory on Friday at Malek Stadium, Navy improves to 10-1 and 2-0 in the Patriot League, while Army drops to 3-4-3 and 0-1-1 in conference play.
"It was a very well-played game tonight by both teams," remarked head coach Carin Gabarra. "It was a great crowd and atmosphere so that added to the emotion. It's always hard to get a win on the road in a physical game, and it's really hard for us on the road versus a rival like Army.
"There was a lot of preparation that went into tonight so I'm happy for the players; I'm really happy for Carolyn Mang scoring the game-winning goal, and also playing a great all-around game. We played a tough and disciplined defensive game for 90 minutes, and found composure at the times when we needed it tonight. We continued to battle, and eventually took advantage of an opportunity in big moment."
The action in the first half saw ebbs and flow with each team owning periods of possession. The host Black Knights looked to strike first with the game's first shot on goal in the seventh minute. After Sydney Fortson (Sr., Claremont, Calif.) turned that shot aside, Army's next best scoring opportunity came in 14th minute off a corner kick when the Black Knights' Emily Torres controlled a ball at the top of the box and launched a looping shot that caught the top of the netting over the cross bar.
Three minutes later, Navy recorded its first shot on goal when McClaskey put a dangerous free kick on frame. In what was potentially a cross towards a charging Alex Jackson (Sr., Centennial, Colo.), Army's goalkeeper Sydney Cassalia leap off her line to bat the ball away from danger.
With momentum swinging in Navy's favor during the middle portion of the half, Hannah Miller (So., Mattawan, Mich.) looked to leave her mark on the game as she headed a crafty Victoria Tran (So., Clarksville, Md.) cross wide in the 26th minute before her next attempt a minute later was blocked by an Army defender.
Over the final 15 minutes of play, both teams recorded shots on goal as Avery Fries (So., Draper, Utah) put a long-range blast from 35-plus yards out that had eyes for the upper-90 if not for Cassalia's save in the 32nd minute. Army's chance came in the 43rd when Sydney Shafer peppered Fortson with an attempt on target after finding herself open on the far side of the field.
Going into the intermission deadlocked at 0-0, the total shots and shots on goal categories were knotted as well as both Army and Navy recorded four shots with two on goal.
Defense played an even larger role in the final 45 minutes of regulation as the teams combined for five total shots in the second half. Army's best scoring opportunity came less than seven minutes into the period when Alyssa Carfagno found a bit of space and ripped an errant shot towards goal that hit the side-netting much to the chagrin of the boisterous home crowd. In the 59th minute, Shafer took the Black Knights' final shot of the game, a high shot that clanked off the crossbar.
Withstanding that initial attack. Navy tried to re-establish its brand of soccer. Controlling the pace and possession on the strength of its midfield and defense, the Mids starting tipping the offensive tide in their favor over the final 20 minutes of action. Mang was critical in the team's success during this span of play as she put a lengthy low shot on frame to test a diving Cassalia at 71:18. Less than three minutes after that shot, the sophomore midfielder was on the receiving end of a McClaskey free kick that started 25 yards from net. After McClaskey drove her free kick low past the Army wall, Mang re-directed that pass with a quick flick to the far side of the goal past the outstretched arms of the Black Knights' goalkeeper.
Following that goal at 74:00, the last 16 minutes of action were filled with physical play and defensive denials as neither team was able to muster any type of shot. With this lockdown style of play clicking, Navy was able to hold on for the 1-0 victory over its archrival.
For the game, Navy outshot Army, 7-6 with a 5-2 advantage in shots on goal. The Mids also held a slight advantage in corner kicks by a 4-2 margin.
Solidified by Fortson and her two saves in goal, Navy's defensive backfield of Jackson, Fries, and Kaitlynn Johns (Fr., Austin, Texas) were on the field for 267 of a possible 270 minutes.
"Tonight was a great victory for us because of the magnitude of the Star Game for our players, our alumni, and our program," said Gabarra. "The legacy of the players before this team is special and we talk about those players and their contributions all the time. We play this game for all Navy and Marine Corps officers around the world. This is a fun rivalry and always is an emotion-filled game. Getting this win tonight against a very good Army team is an excellent result for us."

Friday's contest was the second between Army and Navy as part of the 2019-20 Army-Navy Star Series presented by USAA. Following the Mids' win on the pitch, the series moved to 2-0 in favor of Navy, though Army would eek out a five-set victory over Navy in volleyball less than 30 minutes after the completion of the soccer competition across the campus at West Point.
Navy will continue Patriot League action this coming Wednesday when the Mids host the Lafayette Leopards. Kickoff between the teams is set for 7 p.m. at the Glenn Warner Soccer Facility.