ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Friday night at Glenn Warner Soccer Facility, the Navy Midshipmen were on the good side of a hat trick. But on a cold, misty Sunday afternoon, no one could have predicted a hat trick by their opponent would cost Navy the 2017 Patriot League Women’s Soccer Championship.
But, unfortunately, it did.
#2 seed Bucknell Bison Senior F Kendall Ham scored a hat trick in the first 22 minutes of the game and that was all the Bison needed, as they held on to defeat the Midshipmen, 3-2 and capture the championship and the automatic bid into the NCAA Women’s Soccer Tournament.
Navy must now hope that it built a strong resume over the season to claim an at-large bid. For the Midshipmen, it was the first they suffer a loss since a 7-0 loss on September 3rd to Stanford.
Coming into today’s game, it seemed like all signs were pointing to a Navy title. But Ham had a date with destiny on this day, as just 88 seconds into the game, her header (with an assist from Bison Senior D Karli Cirovski) went past 2017 Patriot League Goalkeeper Of The Year, Navy Sophomore GK Sydney Fortson and Bucknell went ahead 1-0.
Just 11 minutes later, in the 12th minute (11:56 mark), Ham’s shot from 20 yards out again went past Fortson and the lead was stretched to 2-0.
Ham’s hat trick was completed just 10 minutes later, in the 22nd minute (21:05 mark), when her header from inside the six-yard box (another assist from Cirovski) gave Ham the very first Bucknell hat trick in the league tournament and commanding 3-0 lead.
One thing that any opponent of Navy could say was that the Midshipmen had plenty of time to get back in the match.
That’s just what happened just seven minutes later, during the 28th minute (27:14 mark) when Midshipmen Senior F Claire Macadam found the upper right part of the goal and Navy cut the lead down to 3-1, where the score would stay for the rest of the first half.
Coming out strong in the second half, Navy missed on their first two scoring attempts within the first five minutes. It was in the 65th minute (64:05 mark), when Junior F Ash Farrow’s (assist from Sophomore D Alex Jackson) 25-yard shot landed in the lower-right part of the net and Navy now behind by only one goal, at 3-2.
The last good Navy scoring opportunity was in the 85th minute (84:23 mark) when Macadam’s shot went wide of net. Bucknell was able to keep Navy from any more scoring chances s they ran out the last five minutes of the clock and secure the championship.
Navy did out-shoot Bucknell, 17-11, but the Bison held the edge with shots on goal, by a 6-4 margain. Let’s hope the Navy season gets extended into the tournament.