Army tops women’s soccer in Patriot League opener

The final moments of a key rivalry would decide the Patriot League opener on Sept. 20 for the women’s soccer team, as Army scored on an 89th-minute penalty kick to win the game, 2-1 in West Point. The Bison also traveled to Penn State on Sept. 23 to take on the No. 8 Nittany Lions, but couldn’t find any offense in a 7-0 loss.

The Orange and Blue came into their Patriot League schedule with momentum and a four-game winning streak, and they put that streak on the line against Army. Madison Loos ’16 scored her second goal of the season from 25 yards out off an assist from Alexis Gannon ’17 in the 33rd minute. The lead held until about 20 minutes after halftime, when a powered shot from outside the box slipped past goalie Jessie Ashworth ’16. Ashworth made five saves on the day as the score stood deadlocked at one apiece until the final minutes.

“We knew the game would be different against Army; [it was] quicker and more intense,” Cassie Denger ’15 said.

An Army cross into the box in the 89th minute was defended by the Bison, but a defensive foul led to a penalty shot for the Black Knights. The penalty shot was successful, and without any more time to mount a comeback, the Bison fell short of a win.

Still, the Bison outplayed Army by a wide margin in the first half. Denger had two shots on goal, while Brigit Falcón ’15, Maddie Mulford ’18, and Cora Climo ’17 had two shots apiece.

“We know we have to raise our playing level higher and that our play against Army was not our best,” Denger said. “To prepare for the rest of our Patriot League schedule, I am sure we will go back to what works for us. We will focus on what we did wrong versus Army, and what can make our attack more effective going forward.”

Army has always been a stout foe, but Penn State was an even bigger task, as the Nittany Lions entered the match nationally ranked. The Bison were outshot 21-8 at Penn State.

Twenty-three players saw game action, as head coach Ben Landis did his best to slow down Penn State. The Bison defense finally broke in the 15th minute when Penn State first got on the board. The Nittany Lions tallied two more before halftime, and added four more security goals in the second half. This was definitely a strong test to help prepare the squad for their remaining conference schedule.

“This is just the beginning, and every Patriot League game will be a battle, but we’ll be ready. We have a very strong squad this year, and I am confident that we are going to make an impact,” Courtney Nelson ’15 said.

The Bison (5-5 overall, 0-1 PL) return home for their first Patriot League home match of the season against Lehigh on Sept. 26 at 7 p.m.

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