Soccer: Navy tops Cal Poly, 2-0

McKenzie Plank scored goals in both halves and Evan Barnes recorded his first career shutout by making nine saves, leading the Navy men's soccer team to a 2-0 victory on Friday night over Cal Poly. The win moves Navy's record to 3-2-0 entering Sunday's contest with 18th-ranked St. Louis University.

"We did not play well last night, but we somehow did enough to win," said head coach Rich Miradna on Saturday morning. "Our defense played well and saved us last night. We know we have a good defense and they carried us to the win."

Navy got on the board first when Plank, who hails from Mountain View, Calif., took an errant Mustangs' pass on a breakaway and beat the goalie 1-on-1 in the 23rd minute. The goal was Plank's third of the season, a new career high already.

The Mids added to the lead in the 75th minute when Plank picked up a loose ball in a scramble and rifled a shot into the side of the net from eight yards out. His goal marked the first time since 2002 that a Navy player has tallied two goals in a game, when Matt Sanchez netted a pair against Massachusetts.

"Plank was outstanding last night. He had something to prove when he came back to his home state and he really played well," said Miranda. Plank accounted for four of Navy's five shots for the game. "He is becoming a player that opposing defenses are really going to have to pay attention to."

Plank has now had a hand in five of Navy's seven goals this year.

Navy was outshot, 14-5, but the junior Barnes, a Columbus, Ohio, native, stopped a career-high nine shots.

"Evan was very good last night," added Miranda. "He made about four or five key saves in the second half that really saved us."

The Mids suffered a key blow late in the game when freshman Cash Elston (Sammamish, Wash.) broke his leg with about three minutes to play. The injury adds to an already-full injury list for the Mids. Elston, who is out for the year, was developing into a very good midfielder according to Miranda.

"That is a big blow for us," said Miranda. "He was turning into a very good midfielder, who could play both offense and defense for us. It seems we get someone back and another injury happens. We are slowly getting people back, but this will set us back some."

Miranda said there are things to work on, but is happy to get the win last night.

"We played too much north and south and just gave the ball away," said Miranda. "We also need to get our midfielders in rhythm. They are struggling a little bit right now."

Cal Poly also drew 10 corner kicks to Navy's three, while the Mids were whistled for 17 fouls to the Mustangs' 14.

Navy will battle the 18th-ranked Billikens on Sunday, beginning at 5:00 p.m. (EST) in Santa Clara, Calif.


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