DOVER, Del. – The Navy women’s soccer team got back to its winning ways with a dominant 3-0 victory over Delaware State on the road Tuesday afternoon. Playing at Drass Field in Dover, the Mids (7-6-3) used a pair of goals by Isabella Romano (Fr., Syosset, N.Y.) and a third by Amanda Graziano (So., Middlebury, Conn.), while their defense completely shut out the Hornets (1-14) and held the hosts without a shot over the 90-minute contest.
“We had a pretty complete and successful effort today,” remarked head coach Carin Gabarra. “We had good energy throughout and maintained our fight all 90 minutes. We need to keep that going moving forward.”
The Mids controlled much of the action in the first half though they struggled to make in-roads on the scoreboard. The visitors took four shots over the opening 20 minutes of action and tested DSU’s goalkeeper Ashley Maribo with a Chloe Dawson (Jr., Fairfax, Va.) shot on goal in the 12th minute.
Dawson’s second shot on goal of the half in the 27th minute was particularly dangerous as she crashed towards the net and received a looping cross the left wing. A quick volley from Dawson forced Maribo to jump into action and make the save to extend the run of shutout play in the first half.
Navy continued to pressure Delaware State in the attacking third as Mimi Abusham (Fr., Los Alamitos, Calif.) recorded back-to-back shots in the 30th minute as her initial shot was blocked by a defender before her second look made its way on frame before being stopped by Maribo.
The Mids finally broke through a little over three minutes later at 33:48 when Abusham gathered a through ball over the top and dribbled into the box. After a slight hesitation to help Navy build its numbers, Romano got the pass in stride and quickly deposited a shot into the lower right corner of the goal.
After out-shooting Delaware State, 10-0 with four shots on goal over the first 45 minutes of action, Navy picked up its work rate in the attacking third even more in the second half. In the first five-plus minute of the second stanza the Mids recorded three shots with both Abusham and Graziano challenging Maribo with shots on goal. Less than minutes later at 51:54, a crisp sequence of a deep Sadie McCaleb (Sr., Loganton, Pa.) throw-in, a Rylee Rives (So., Arlington, Texas) header flick and a Graziano one-timer resulted in Navy’s second goal of the game.
After three more shots on goal were denied, the Mids’ fourth attempt found the back of the net in the 81st minute. Following another lengthy throw-in by McCaleb into a cluttered six-yard box, a messy clearance by DSU’s defense saw Romano gain possession and quickly snap a shot past Maribo to extend Navy’s advantage to 3-0.
Difficult shots on goals by Tori Liesen (So., Hudson, Ohio) and Mori Sokoloff (Fr., Arnold, Md.) in the last five minutes of regulation nearly added to the Mids’ final goal total though Maribo came up with athletic saves in both situations.
In Navy’s 3-0 win, Navy outshot Delaware State, 26-0 with a 14-0 final total in shots on goal. The Mids also held a 10-3 lead in corner kicks.
Overall, 22 Midshipmen saw action on Tuesday with 17 playing over 20 minutes.
“I’m happy that we received significant contributions from everyone that stepped foot on the field today,” said Gabarra in closing. “We had the courage to attack and defended with urgency. We’ve now got to turn our attention to Friday.”
Navy will be back in action on Friday with a Patriot League matchup versus Holy Cross. The Mids and Crusaders will compete at the Glenn Warner Soccer Facility in Annapolis beginning at 5 p.m. Prior to the contest, Navy will celebrate its four-member Class of 2023 with a Senior Day ceremony.