ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Playing its final regular season home game of 2022, the Navy women’s soccer team was defeated by Holy Cross by 2-0 on Friday. Competitive throughout the Glenn Warner Soccer Facility contest, the Mids (7-7-3, 3-5 PL) could not answer the Crusaders (2-10-4, 2-5-1 PL), who netted goals in each half.  

“At the beginning of the game, I felt we held some good possession, but we just weren’t finding the balls we needed to,” remarked head coach Carin Gabarra. “We had a lot of passes cut off and had trouble getting behind their defense, which is what we try to do. We made some personnel and system changes, resulting in better energy. We had some chances that we should’ve put away. That would’ve helped us a lot. Holy Cross kept fighting; they’re a team of fighters. They made it happen when they needed to.”

The game started slowly, as both teams registered just one shot over 12 minutes of action. The Crusaders broke through on the scoreboard shortly after that as Claire Carew played a cross inside the box to Katie Quinn, who finished for the game’s first goal at 14:16.

Trailing 1-0, Navy tried to make in-roads in Holy Cross’ defense third but only recorded one shot over the ensuing 15 minutes. Mattie Gallagher (Jr., Gilbertsville, Pa.) did her best to hold onto the one-goal margin as she turned aside three shots between the 22nd and 26th minute.

Over the final 15 minutes of the first half, the Mids used a run of set pieces to search for their first game goal. In the 32nd minute, a Sadie McCaleb (Sr., Loganton, Pa.) corner kick found the head of Tatum Kelly (So., Pinehurst, N.C.), who snapped a header shot just wide of the net. The duo of McCaleb and Kelly was at the forefront of Navy’s next attempt again in the 35th as McCaleb launched a deep throw-in towards the goal where Kelly met the ball for another header shot; this one was on goal. However, Holy Cross’ Olivia Dubin made the save. The Mids’ last shot on goal came in the 41st minute when Jenna Daunt (Jr., Haymarket, Va.) put her free kick attempt low to the near post. Unfortunately for Navy, Dubin denied this shot as well.

Coming out after halftime down by a goal, the Mids kept the pressure up and took two shots on goal in the first 10 minutes. Navy’s second look was particularly challenging to Dubin as Kat Healey’s (Jr., King George, Va.) shot was re-directed out of the air by Marlee Heaven (Fr., Rockville, Md.). Healey nearly made it three shots on goal in this early run of second-half play as she ripped a free kick from 25 yards out that rang squarely off the crossbar at 60:04.

With the score still 1-0 in favor of Holy Cross and less than 20 minutes left in regulation, Navy had its next threatening look as Healey played a ball off the end line out to Chloe Dawson (Jr., Fairfax, Va.) at the top of the 18-yard box. After a few dribbles to gain distance from her nearest defender, Dawson turned towards the goal and unleashed a hard shot that just missed the upper 90 to the high side.

Fast forwarding to the 80th minute, Mimi Abusham (Fr., Los Alamitos, Calif.) took her best chance at netting the game-tying goal as she curled her free kick shot around the Crusaders’ wall, but Dubin was able to track the ball and snag it for her fifth save of the game.

Withstanding all of Navy’s efforts, Holy Cross added an insurance goal in the 82nd minute as Cerys Balmer put away a bouncing ball inside the six-yard box after the Crusaders served a deep free kick.

In the 2-0 defeat, Navy outshot Holy Cross 16-13, though the Crusaders held a slight 7-6 advantage in shots on goal. The visitors also posted a 5-2 final edge in corner kicks.

Before the contest, Navy recognized its four-member Senior Class of 2023: Kaitlyn Burns (Frederick, Md.), Caitlin Doran (Queens, N.Y.), Sadie McCaleb (Loganton, Pa.), and team captain Olivia Foster (Brighton, Mich.). During the quartet’s three-plus years with the program, the team won 38 games, including Patriot League Championship victories in 2019 and 2020-21.

Credit: Navy Athletics

“This is a nice, small senior class,” said Gabarra about the Class of 2023. “They’ve provided us with good leadership over their four years with the program. They’re all extremely passionate about the program’s success, their teammates, and the legacy of Navy Women’s Soccer. We hope to extend the season for them on Wednesday.”

Navy will conclude its regular season on the road on Wednesday with a tilt at Lafayette in Easton, Pa. Kickoff between the Mids and Leopards is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Oaks Stadium.

With Friday night’s result, Navy currently stands sixth in the Patriot League’s standings with nine conference points, though Colgate is seventh with seven points and a game in hand.

“We don’t control our destiny now, so we have to sit back and see what happens around the league on Saturday,” commented Gabarra. “Regardless of our position coming out of the action tomorrow, our focus has to be locked in on winning our last game on Wednesday.”

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