ANNAPOLIS, Md. — The Navy women’s soccer team maintained their undefeated streak for the 2023 season after battling a 1-1 tie against Ohio University on Sunday. Amanda Graziano’s 46th-minute goal pulled Navy level after being down 1-0, helping to ensure the draw. The game peaked dramatically when Ohio missed a last-second penalty kick, keeping the scores level.

The face-off occurred at the Glenn Warner Soccer Facility, where Navy’s goalkeeper Mattie Gallagher was instrumental in her team’s defense. The senior from Gilbertsville, Pa., racked up nine saves and defended against four corner kicks from Ohio, particularly in the second half when Ohio focused on breaking the deadlock.

Graziano nets game-tying goal; Gallagher makes 9 saves in goal Credit: U.S. Naval Academy

Head coach Carin Gabarra said, “That was a very north-south game with a lot of action and many chances for both teams. It was a warm day and the second game of a long weekend set for both teams. I’m proud of our mentality because it’s there, and it’s very good.” Gabarra emphasized the team’s resilience and spoke of future improvements, stating, “We’re playing a lot of players and getting them important minutes of game experience; that should pay off for us in the end.”

The visiting Bobcats from Athens, Ohio, had taken an early lead with a goal in the first 11:30 of the match. Despite the initial setback, Navy fought back, initiating their comeback in the 21st minute when a corner kick translated into two on-target shots.

Graziano’s decisive moment came shortly after the second half began. A misjudged clearing attempt by Ohio’s goalkeeper, Celeste Sloma, saw the ball ricochet off Graziano and into the net, leveling the score at 1-1. Both teams exited their attacks, with Ohio registering four shots within the next 15 minutes, while Navy answered back with three.

Gallagher’s impressive performance continued, notably stopping a Haley Miller free kick and battling through multiple set pieces by Ohio. The climax came in the dying moments when Ohio had the chance to win via a penalty kick due to a handball call against Navy. The attempt went wide, securing the draw.

Throughout the game, Ohio outperformed Navy in shots, with a 19-10 count and a 10-4 advantage in shots on goal. However, Navy’s nine saves from Gallagher, which pushed her career total to 229, showcased a defensive resilience that kept the team in the game.

Gabarra lauded Gallagher’s contributions, saying, “Mattie was outstanding today. Goalkeepers are hard to play as they have a huge part in team success. Mattie’s leadership is essential for us both on and off the field.”

Navy will return to the field next Thursday against Presbyterian College at 7 p.m. in Clinton, S.C.

David M. Higgins II is an award-winning journalist passionate about uncovering the truth and telling compelling stories. Born in Baltimore and raised in Southern Maryland, he has lived in several East...

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