Navy Comes from Behind in 2-1 Road Win at Holy Cross
WORCESTER, Mass. - In the opening game of the 2017 Patriot League conference season, the Navy women's soccer team had a 90-minute battle on its hands that required two second half goals to help the visiting Mids overcome a 1-0 halftime deficit and earn a 2-1 road win at Holy Cross on Friday. Two well struck corner kicks into the box by Baseley McClaskey (So., Grand Junction, Colo.) within the first 15 minutes of the second half found the heads of Meghan Hegarty (Sr., Richmond, Va.) and Liza Harris (Sr., Baltimore, Md.) to swing the one-goal deficit into a one-goal advantage for the Mids (7-3, 1-0 PL) over the Crusaders (2-5-1, 0-1 PL) at the Smith Soccer Stadium.
"Set pieces were the story of the game," remarked head coach Carin Gabarra. "This was a very competitive game and we made our chances with corner kicks count in the second half. All parts of those plays; from earning the corner, to taking the corner and then finishing the corner were excellent and should be commended.
"We put ourselves into a hole in the first half as they outworked us over the opening 45 minutes. It was important that we came out strong in the second half. It was good that we found our mojo early and converted our first two corner kick opportunities of the half. That was key."
The first half opened with the host Crusaders holding a slight advantage in possession over the Mids in the opening 15 minutes. Even with this advantage, Holy Cross was only able to take two shots during that span of play.
Navy started swinging momentum into its offensive end over the next 15-20 minutes as Clare MacAdam (Sr., Palmyra, N.J.) was a catalyst on multiple occasions. In the 18th minute, MacAdam received a pass into the box before ripping a shot just wide to the left. 12 minutes later following a Holy Cross foul outside of the 18-yard box, the senior played a quick restart to Karli Sottung (Jr., Westfield, N.J.), who lofted a looping shot over a host of Holy Cross defenders, but unfortunately just over the cross bar.
Down the stretch of the first half, Holy Cross found its footing again and made Navy pay in the 42nd minute with a Jenna Barnes goal.
Coming out of the halftime intermission trailing 1-0, the Mids quickly got its explosive offense in gear. Less than 10 minutes into the second stanza, Navy earned its first corner kick opportunity of the game. McClaskey made the most of that opportunity at 54:49 and placed her corner kick over the majority of Holy Cross' defenders towards the back post where Hegarty leapt into the play and headed the ball with pace past the Crusaders goalie.
Less than five minutes later at 59:13, the same situation arose and the same outcome occurred as McClaskey put a dangerous corner kick into the box, though this time Harris was on the receiving end of the cross. The senior defender connected her head with the ball and just like that Navy was in the lead. The goal was the first of Harris' career as she had played in 48 scoreless games prior to today in her four years with the Midshipmen.
The Mids nearly turned their 2-1 lead into a 3-1 lead seven minutes later when Eleanor Pratt (Jr., New Orleans, La.) placed a threatening corner kick into the box for Hegarty in the 67th minute. Fortunately for the Holy Cross, the senior's header skipped wide right and the game stayed at a one-goal.
Navy's defense held down the margin at 2-1 over the final minutes of the game to preserve the victory. Holy Cross' last best scoring chance occurred in the 81st minute when Sydney Fortson (So., Claremont, Calif.) was required to make a save on a low line drive shot from the top of the 18-yard box. That would be Fortson's fifth and final save of the contest.
For the game, Holy Cross outshot Navy, 10-9 and held a 6-5 advantage in shots on goal. The Crusaders also had a slight 4-3 advantage in corner kicks over the Mids.
The victory for Navy was its first of the year when the team was trailing at halftime.
"It's really hard to win on the road, especially versus a league opponent," exclaimed Gabarra. "The beginning of Patriot League play is a reset button for every team as we're all 0-0. We got their best tonight and we're very pleased to walk away with this victory."
From a milestone perspective, Friday marked the 500th contest in the history of the Navy women's soccer program, as well as the 100th victory in Patriot League.
Navy will step aside from conference action one final time this regular season on Monday, Sept. 18 with a home matchup with Howard University at the Glenn Warner Soccer Facility. Kickoff between the Mids and Bison is set for 7:00 p.m.