Even before last Friday’s rivalry game with Patriot League opponent Army, the Navy women’s soccer team had already clinched its eighth conference title, the No. 1 seed in the upcoming league tournament and the right to host Friday’s semifinals and Sunday’s final.
Still, the 2-0 loss to the Black Knights (8-7-3 overall and 4-3-2 in the Patriot League) gnaws at the Midshipmen (15-4-0, 8-1-0) and coach Carin Gabarra.
“We’re happy to win and host, but at the same time, every game’s a game, and that’s a big game for us because it is Army-Navy,” she said Monday afternoon. “You take it one game at a time, and we want to win every game. Nothing makes a loss feel better, especially one where we don’t even feel like we played close to our potential. So I hope it resonates within them and pushes us forward this week in training as we prepare for Friday.”
Army outshot Navy, 12-10, and took three corner kicks to the Midshipmen’s one. While acknowledging that the Black Knights deserved to win, Gabarra said the onus is on Navy to turn the loss into a teaching tool.
“We have to use it to motivate us moving forward and not dwell on what we didn’t do well enough in that one game,” she said. “We’re just going to go back to playing our type of soccer. We had a nice session yesterday. We’re going to compete, we’re going to have a great attitude, we’re going to become better. We’re going to work on some of the areas that we didn’t feel like we hit our full potential in and we’re going to try to elevate our play on both sides of the ball for this weekend.”
The Midshipmen, who will find out their semifinal opponent after Tuesday’s quarterfinals, will have waited seven days to play in their last game when Friday rolls around. Gabarra said the team’s longest break since the beginning of October will be well spent.
“We don’t see it as a break,” she said. “We practiced yesterday and today, and it’s back to preaching what we expect from them and what we expect to get Friday because of a good week of training. So it’s our advantage. Other teams are playing games and traveling. Looking at the weather at both [No. 3 seed] Colgate and [No. 4 seed] Army, it’s colder, it’s a harder climate to play in. So we’re happy we’re here, we’re happy to have a day off to be able to prepare and train to get ready for Friday.”