LEWISBURG, Pa. – Goals from juniors Baba Kallie and David Jackson helped the Navy men’s soccer team open Patriot League play with a victory on Saturday night, as Navy was able to shut out Bucknell, 2-0, at Emmitt Field in Lewisburg, Pa.
Moving to 3-2-2 overall via the second-straight shutout by sophomore goalkeeper Pierce Holbrook, the Midshipmen now sit at 1-0 in league play, while the Bison dropped to 1-6-0 on the season and 0-1 in the Patriot League standings.
End-to-end action was the focus of the game early, as Bucknell generated a pair of shots in the first three minutes that Holbrook had to save, while Kallie had a tough-angle shot go just off the target at 9′ and Bucknell’s Bennett Schwartz stopped Jackson in the 11th minute.
In the 25th minute, sophomore Noah Ward was able to fight off two Bison and gain possession after a Bucknell throw-in at midfield, and Ward quickly fed the ball to junior Jake Granados, with Granados then putting a through-pass downfield to Kallie, who beat the Bison defenders and slotted a low shot past Schwartz for his third goal of the season.
Junior Zach Wagner tried to extend the lead quickly but had an on-target shot saved by Schwartz at 27′, while Holbrook had to make a stop on Waldemar Kattrup in the 33rd minute.
When a pass at 41′ found senior Kevin Hileman about 20 yards out, he was taken down by Eddie Perez-Pelaez right outside the penalty box. A red card to Perez-Pelaez put the Mids up a man for the rest of the game and set up a free kick for Jackson, who had his shot blocked by a wall of defenders and then had another shot blocked later in the minute.
An early look from Cade McGrath to Jordan Miller in the 46th minute opened the second half, but Holbrook was able to prevent them form getting a shot off, as back-and-forth action did not lead to any scoring chances until Charlie Holmes put a shot high from 12 yards out at 53′.
The 58th minute saw Kallie mis-hit a touch just outside the 6-yard box, sending it past the right post and missing a chance for his second goal of the night, while Kattrup had a shot go wide at the other end in the 60th minute and Sebastian Paz then connected on a cross-pass at 65′, but his header sailed wide for the Bison. Navy sophomore Connor Walcott had two chances at the other side of the field a minute later, but the first shot was blocked and the second went wide of the top-left corner, and he had another shot blocked in the 69th minute.
A Navy corner kick at 72′ set up a shot from Ward from well outside the box, but the ball found its way on-target, forcing Schwartz to make the save, and Schwartz then made another save on a Walcott header at 79′.
After Aidan Lawlor knocked Ward down inside the box that drew the signal for a Navy penalty kick, Jackson buried his PK kick dead-center after Schwartz dove left to give Navy an insurance tally at 84′ and handed Jackson his third-straight game with a goal.
Holbrook had some work to do in the final seven minutes, making saves on Marco Valentic and Kattrup and also facing off-target shots from MJ Kuczura and Valentic to preserve his second-straight shutout and his third clean sheet of the season.
“I’m really happy with our play tonight,” said Navy head coach Tim O’Donohue. “We’re starting to create chances after our build-up earlier in the season. I thought we were really good with in-game intelligence once we were up a man tonight and we knocked it really well. I’m very happy to get these three points on the road, and this game was another good step for a young group.”
Jackson’s three-game goal streak makes him the first Mid to score in three consecutive contests since Nicko West from Sept. 28-Oct. 6, 2019. For Holbrook, he is the first Navy keeper to post back-to-back shutouts since former teammate Tyler Fanning did so on Oct. 2 and Oct. 9 last season.
Navy outshot its opponent for the first time this season on Saturday, outshooting Bucknell by a 13-11 margin and tallying six shots on goal to Bucknell’s five. The Bison led in corner kicks, 6-1, and limited themselves to seven fouls compared to eight Navy fouls.
The Midshipmen continue Patriot League action on Saturday, Sept. 24, when Navy returns home to Glenn Warner Soccer Facility for a 3 p.m. contest against Colgate.