Oct. 28, 2005
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ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- The Navy men's soccer team opened up a tight game with two goals in the first eight minutes of the second half and held off a spirited Army rally late in the game to claim a Star Game victory over Army, 4-2, in front of 1,319 fans at the Glenn Warner Soccer Facility. The win improves Navy's overall record to 8-6-1 and 3-3-0 in league play, and more importantly, keeps the Mids in position to qualify for the Patriot League Tournament. Army drops to 4-12-1 overall and 1-5-0 in league play.
"It feels really great to get that first Army win out of the way," said Navy head coach Rich Miranda, who became the first Navy men's soccer coach in school history to defeat Army in his first game against the Black Knights. "I thought that we played very, very well, and were composed for most of the game. It was very good to see us score some goals off our set pieces. We started slow again, but we responded very positively after the first 10 minutes."
Navy may have started slow, but wasted little time in taking an early lead. Senior Kenan Knieriem (Kailua, Hawai'i) gave the Mids a 1-0 advantage in the 17th minute. J.P. Murphy (Severna Park, Md.) started the play off with a deep throw-in into the Army box in which Zach Pleis (Granite Bay, Calif.) headed towards the Army keeper. Knieriem, who was playing the game with approximately 30 stitches in his forehead after a deep cut suffered in the Lafayette game, corraled Pleis' header and drilled it into the left side of the net for his third goal of the year.
"What can you say about Kenan Knieriem
," said Miranda. "He was playing with 30 stitches in his forehead and played one of his better games of the year. He gave a very gutsy performance tonight, and was definitely one of our leaders."
The score remained 1-0 at halftime, but the Mids opened the game up early in the second half. Just seconds after halftime, Kris Huff (Kenifield, Calif.) controlled a failed Army defensive clear at the top of the box and sent a shot into the lower left corner that beat John-Michael Gallogly for a 2-0 lead 28 seconds after halftime. The goal was Huff's first of the year.
Just seven minutes later, the lead grew to 3-0 when Justin Waskey (Georgetown, Ky.) netted his first goal of the year with an assist credited to Eric Gorden (Longwood, Fla.). Gorden headed a shot towards the goal-line that Waskey popped into the top right corner from the ground at the 52:36 mark.
Army cut the lead to 3-1 after Chris Conklin gave himself some space and sent a low, hard shot from the top of the box past Navy's Thomas Jenkins (Franklin, N.C.) in the 66th minute, but sophomore Anthony Parker (Fredericksburg, Va.) stopped the Army rally 13 minutes later with his third tally of the season. The goal, which again came in a scramble in front of the net, was assisted by Huff and Tom Shelly (Crofton, Md.), and came in the 79th minute.
Army's Chase Spruill ended the scoring with his second goal of the season in the 89th minute to make the final margin, 4-2.
One player that didn't figure into Navy's scoring was Addy Strasdas (Tampa, Fla.), but Miranda thought the junior played a key role for the Mids.
"Addy did a great job setting the tempo and controlling the game for us tonight," said Miranda. "The players really fed off him and he did everything tonight we asked of him. He had a great game."
Navy outshot Army, 16-15, and drew three corners to Army's two. Jenkins was called on to make just one save to earn his fourth win of the season.
Navy will end the regular season next Saturday with a key league contest against Bucknell. Action begins at 7:00 p.m., at the Glenn Warner Soccer Facility, and fans can gain admission to the game with a Navy-Tulane football ticket stub from earlier that day. The game will also likely decide a Patriot League Tournament berth. For ticket information, call the Navy ticket office at 1-800-US4-NAVY.
# GO NAVY #