UAlbany Women’s Soccer Opens 2016 with 2-0 Shutout at Army West Point
WEST POINT, N.Y. – The UAlbany women’s soccer captains netted first half goals to lead the team to a 2-0 shutout victory at Army West Point to begin the 2016 season.
“Our goal tonight was to be getting it done and be mentally sharp,” said UAlbany head coach Caitlin Cucchiella. “At the end of the day, we had two set pieces that we capitalized on, and we are happy to get the win.”
Alexa Schneider and Caitlyn Paltsios each scored goals to send UAlbany (1-0) to a season opening victory. UAlbany connected on two of its five shots on goal and saving all three of Army’s (0-1) shots on net. Chloe Borasky earned a shutout in her first ever game, playing all 90 minutes.
“It was a hard fought game; we knew it was going to be against a strong Army team,” said Schneider. “We stayed together when they were pressuring in the second half and we never gave up.”
Schneider netted her goal in the 25th minute, heading the ball off a free kick from Caroline Kopp from distance. Paltsios, who had four shots in the game, added a goal 15 minutes later after a foul was called on a corner kick to set up a penalty. Paltsios scored inside the right post for the goal.
It is the second straight season and third in the last four years that UAlbany has started the year with a win.
With two points from the goal, Schneider now stands fourth in UAlbany history in points with 38. Kiana Rugar now has 13 assists after earning one on Schneider’s goal, standing one away from tying the program record of 14.
For Army, Sam Gottlieb had three shots while Jade Jamison had two, with each putting one on goal. Jordan Cassalia got the defeat in goal with three saves in 90 minutes.
Possession was traded in the midfield in the early minutes until Army put a free kick into the box in the fifth minute. Kopp cleared the ball out on a dive and ended the attempt. UAlbany nearly got a breakaway attempt with a 2-on-3 as Kiana Rugar and Meghan Cavanaugh raced down field, but an offsides call ended the chance.
UAlbany got its first opportunity in the 11th minute as it pressured down the left side. Cavanaugh sent the ball to Paltsios, who moved around a defender and fired the ball towards the center of the net, being caught and saved by the keeper.
After 15 minutes of play, UAlbany pressured around the penalty box trying to find a player in the middle. Army took possession and counterattacked with Jamison to the other side. Jamison attempted to kick to the middle as the ball went off Kopp and to Borasky.
Later, Army sprinted down the left side off a 50-50 ball and got inside the 18-yard box as Jamison again tried to score, kicking the ball towards the left post and missing wide.
UAlbany got on the board in the 25th minute off a free kick from Kopp. Kopp put the ball high in the air as the ball bounced in the box, deflected by Rugar and headed by Schneider into the right side of the net for a 1-0 UAlbany lead.
The Great Danes had a chance the next minute as Rugar stole a ball and dribbled through a double team, grounded a shot towards the left but was stopped by a diving Cassalia.
Each side exchanged missed shots as Kayla Swasey missed a shot high and Paltsios got a rebound shot attempt, missing right.
With just over five minutes left in the first, Paltsios put a corner kick into the box. The keeper caught the ball but her defender was called for a foul, leading to a penalty kick. Paltsios took the penalty and buried the shot inside the right post past the keeper, who dove right, to make it 2-0 UAlbany.
Gottlieb just a final shot from long range at the half, being saved by Borasky. UAlbany took a 2-0 lead into halftime.
Army had two similar looks in the opening 10 minutes of the second half as Gottlieb and Kayleigh Stallings each took a shot on the first touch off a cross from Swasey, each missing very high from inside the box.
UAlbany kept its defenses up, holding off a number of Army’s sprints to the goal. Vivian Vega led a counter off another Army attempt, connecting with Morgan Loder down the field. Loder passed off to Vega who tried a ground ball shot towards the right post, missing right.
UAlbany held against an Army free kick attempt near the side line as the Black Knights got the ball centered in the box. Schneider poked the ball away and Courtney and Rugar combined to clear it out as UAlbany held its two-goal lead with 15 minutes left.
Borasky saved another header from Jamison as UAlbany’s defense continued to hold. With five minutes left, another Army header, from Brianna Nicholas, missed left. Later, a one touch from Nicole Bautista was saved by a crouching Borasky for her third save.
UAlbany got a late corner as Paltsios found Rugar near the left post, but was unable to get a shot off. UAlbany held the rest of the way and secured the 2-0 victory.
The Great Danes have a quick turnaround, heading to St. John’s on Sunday for a 7:30 p.m. contest.