By Army West Point AthleticsAugust 29, 2016
WEST POINT, N.Y. -- The U.S. Military Academy at West Point men's soccer team dropped a tough 3:2 decision here Sunday afternoon to the reigning NEC Champions LIU Brooklyn.
Rookie Rex Epps scored his first two collegiate goals in just over a two-minute span to pull the Black Knights even at 2-2, but a quick answer from the Blackbirds ultimately sealed the win for the visitors.
Despite facing a two-goal deficit with 25 minutes remaining, Army found some momentum after Grayson Naquin connected with Epps to cut the score in half at 2-1. A little more than two minutes later the Irmo, S.C., native intercepted a pass inside the box to knot the score. Unfortunately, LIU pulled back in front with what would be the eventual game-winner one minute and 42 seconds later.
Army suffered its first loss to the Blackbirds after holding a 2-0 edge on the series heading into the match.
The Black Knights turned up their offensive pressure in the second 45 minutes when they recorded 10 shots to LIU's six. Army held the overall advantage on shots at 15-9.
Epps tallied his first two career goals for the Black and Gold, and they came just 2:10 apart.
Naquin was awarded the assist on Epps' first goal, handing him number one on the season.
Epps' two goals marked the second time in as many games Army found the back of the net in less than a two and a half minute span. The Cadets netted two quick goals in the span of 1:04 on Friday in a win against Air Force.
Two goalies saw action in the game for the Black Knights with Christian Nolasco earning the start. First-year Justin Stoll came in for relief, playing the final 33:51, posting three saves.
Army saw four rookies earn starting nods, three of which were for the second game in a row. Tyler Mitchiner registered his first career start on Sunday.
Epps led the team with four shots. Senior Nick Williams posted three, while Mitchiner and Keenan O'Shea followed closely with two apiece.
After the Black Knights had knotted the score at 2-2 following back-to-back goals, the Blackbirds quickly answered 1:42 later to take the momentum back from the home team.
Naeem Charles put LIU in front early, scoring just 4:27 into the contest on a well-driven shot from 25-yards out.
The Blackbirds extended their edge to 2-0 just after halftime when Simen Hestnes and Filip Nordstrom connected with Rasmus Hansen on a through ball.
In the 65th minute, Army was given some life when Naquin sent a beautiful long through ball to a running Epps. The rookie took one touch before blasting it home.
Epps then made things interesting when he tied the score at 2-2 after intercepting a bad LIU pass in the 18-yard box just inside the 68th minute.
However, a little more than 90 seconds after that the visitors found themselves back in front 3-2 when Giuseppe Barone finished off what would be his first goal of the year.
Army has a week off before returning to action in its first road test of the year at Marist on Sept. 4. That match is slated for a 7 p.m. start on Leonidoff Field at Tenney Stadium. Live video and stats will be available at the start.