WORCESTER, Mass. – Senior captain Monty Sanders (Temecula, Calif.) scored the game-winning goal for the Crusaders as the Holy Cross men's soccer team defeated Army, 2-1, in Patriot League action on Wednesday evening at the Linda Johnson Smith Soccer Stadium. With the win, the Crusaders improve to 7-6-1 overall (5-2-0 PL), while the Black Knights fall to 12-2-1 overall (6-1-0 PL). With the win, Holy Cross clinches a spot in the six-team Patriot League Tournament for the first time since 2008. Their seven overall wins are their most since going 9-5-5 in 2008 and their five Patriot League victories are their most since posting a 5-2-0 record in 2002. The Crusaders join Army and Navy in tournament berths so far.
"This is one of our goals, qualifying for the Patriot League Tournament, and it's a great accomplishment," said head coach Marco Koolman. "We took the positives from the game against Navy and implemented them successfully tonight against Army. The quality and character of this team just keeps growing and getting better from both on the field and the bench. We didn't lose our ways after they scored tonight. We came back right after the equalizer which really shows the character of the team."
The first half of play concluded with a 1-0 Crusader lead as Holy Cross outshot Army 7-3. Holy Cross had its first goal attempt in the 13th minute of the game when Sanders took a shot that was saved by Army goalkeeper Winston Boldt and pushed aside forcing a corner kick. Just four minutes later, Sanders sent another corner kick to teammate Will Bowers (Raleigh, N.C.) who headed the ball toward the goal but couldn't get by Boldt. Army then placed its first shot on net two minutes later when Alex Jaroscak broke passed two defenders but did not get through Crusader sophomore goalie Kevin Wright (McKinney, Texas), who came up with the save. Wright made another key save about a minute and a half later when he dove to save a ball from Sean Mogan that was aimed at the lower right post. Senior Josh Cintas (San Diego, Calif.) then took two consecutive shots in the 30th and 36th minutes, the first was pushed aside by Boldt and the second went just over the top of the net. Army had another chance to convert in the 40th minute when Mogan took his second shot, but it went wide of the goal. Holy Cross broke the stalemate of the first half with just 19 seconds left on the clock. Bowers netted his first career goal, giving the Crusaders a 1-0 lead, when he headed a crossed ball from Cintas into the back of the net.
The Black Knights then tied the game in the 57th minute after they began to generate some attack. Trase Stapley crossed the ball from the lower right side of the field and found Mogan, who leaped and headed the ball by Wright. The 1-1 score lasted no more than two minutes. At the 58:00 minute mark, Sanders netted what would be the game-winner, and the goal that sent the team to the Patriot League Tournament. Freshman Ryan Gavey (Fairfield, Conn.) sent the ball across the top of the box to sophomore Eddie Viscount (Smithtown, N.Y.) who headed the ball back to Sanders as he awaited at the top of the box to blast the ball into the net, making the score 2-1 for the remainder of the night. Army had a great effort in trying to tie the game back up as they took eight shots after the Crusaders regained the lead, but only three were toward goal as Wright saved two and one hit the post.
In the crucial win, the Black Knights outshot the Crusaders 16-10, while Wright made four saves and Boldt made five. Holy Cross had seven shots on goal while Army had five. Army had seven corner kicks during the match and Holy Cross had five.
The Crusaders return to action on Saturday, November 2 when they travel to Lewisburg, Pa., to face Patriot League opponent Bucknell at 1:00 p.m.