- Lafayette and Navy played a 1-0 match for the fourth consecutive season on Wednesday night but the Leopards came up on the short end of this affair in a Patriot League contest at Mike Bourger '44 Field at Oaks Stadium.
Both teams battled through some windy conditions and a slick turf through a scoreless first half played primarily between the respective 18-yard boxes. A little over three minutes into the second half Navy Junior Cadie Higginson broke through for her second goal of the season - and second in as many games - off of a pass from the left side from Patriot League assist leader (7) Baseley McClaskey.
Other than the Higginson game-winner, the Lafayette back line anchored by Lauren Johnson
, Caitlin Balmer
, Annika Sheehan
and Camryn Monfort
did not allow another shot on goal. The Leopards also registered only one shot on goal, by senior forward Alex Stanford
in the second half which was turned away by junior goalkeeper Sydney Fortson who recorded her seventh shutout of the season.
"We were disappointed with the way we played Saturday night (a 4-1 loss at Lehigh)," said head coach Mick Statham
. "I thought the response tonight from all of the players was really good. We defended well and I thought we showed what kind of character we had by playing hard against a heck of a Navy team."
The Leopards had additional opportunities that were promising but did not result in a clean shot on goal. A five minute stretch midway through the first half produced a trio of deep penetration into the Mids end. An attempt by Krista Kissell
to get the ball to Stanford was barely blocked by a Navy defender and a through ball that threaded the defense was smothered by Fortson before a Lafayette forward could get a touch.
Lafayette junior forward Mason Worthington
also made a nifty run down the right sideline that resulted in a cross to freshman forward Katie Butler
but the threat was turned away by the stout Navy defense.
"When you get any type of momentum you need to take advantage of it," said Statham. "You know you aren't going to have it for 90 minutes and you need to just get a little bit more out of that momentum by putting the ball in the net. That is the hardest part of the game - scoring goals is the hardest part of the game."
The victory, the 10th of the season for the Mids, clinched a spot in the Patriot League postseason for head coach Carin Gabarra's club. Lafayette will need victories in its final two games against American and Loyola Maryland plus some help in order to qualify for the PL tournament for a third straight season.
The Leopards travel to American on Sunday and then face Loyola Maryland on Saturday, Oct. 27 in a Senior Day finale at Mike Bourger '44 Field at Oaks Stadium.