- Category: Volume 88 (Fall 2016 - Spring 2017)
- Published: 21 September 2016
- Written by CHRIS FITZSIMMONS | CONTRIBUTING WRITER
The Monmouth University field hockey team has had a successful start to the 2016 season. They currently stand atop the MAAC with a 7-1 record after coming away with victories against Saint Joseph’s and Temple over the last week.
It was Hawks vs. Hawks on Friday, Sept. 16 as the Monmouth University Hawks took on the Saint Joseph’s Hawks at “So Sweet A Cat” Field. MU’s defense was on full display as they were able to record their fourth shutout of the season by a score of 3-0.
“It was a great victory against a very talented Saint Joseph’s team,” Carli Figlio said. “One of the biggest focuses was protecting the middle of the field and having our recovery runs back to the middle because they are very good in moving the ball. Another focus was being able to finish in live play and finishing on the cage. I think we did a good job in both of those areas.”
Monmouth scored in the middle of the first half in this defensive battle when sophomore forward Kelly Hanna scored her first career goal off a rebound. The goal was clearly a game changer. According to Hanna, the goal was key to “getting some momentum building for us.”
From there, the Monmouth Hawks went into halftime with a 1-0 lead in a closely matched game.
MU came out of the intermission strong and - within two minutes - junior midfielder Rachel Konowal buried a one timer off a crossing pass from junior forward Meg Donahue. This was Konowal’s second goal of the season and it came at a crucial time in the game.
From there, senior midfielder Alyssa Ercolino, who claimed a MAAC weekly award last week (along with teammate junior defender Julie Laszlo), capped off the scoring with her seventh goal of the season.
The blue and white did a good job at limited the scoring chances of Saint Josephs. Saint Joseph’s Anna Willocks entered the game as the nation’s leader in goals per game and was not even able to get a shot off due to Monmouth’s stifling defense.
“She is excellent and we needed to be aware of her,” Monmouth Head Coach Carli Figlio said about Saint Joseph’s star player.
Junior goalie Christen Piersanti also shined in the win, racking up her fourth shutout of the season. She was tested on a pivotal penalty stroke attempt in the 61st minute that deflated Saint Joseph’s attempt at mounting a comeback. Piersanti said, “I was able to act confident about the situation and trust my ability.”
Piersanti added that she was “able to take away some of the net” and “put the pressure” on her opponent. Her strategy unmistakably worked and she made the critical save to secure a Monmouth victory.
MU wrapped up the weekend with a Sunday victory at Temple, where they defeated the Owls 3-2 on a penalty stroke goal to improve their record to 7-1.
All five goals were scored in the second half after the two teams went into halftime scoreless. But Laszlo scored the game’s first goal 2:12 into the second half, the first of four goals over a ten-minute span.
Temple’s Rachael Mueller scored less than a minute later to tie the game at one, but the Hawks struck back when Donahue scored at the 41:36 mark, putting the blue and white back on top.
Temple responded and tied the game again five minutes later, but Donahue, who become the eighth Hawk in program history to record 50 career points in the contest, scored the game winner at the 59:40 mark.
“I am really proud of how our team played today, especially against a very talented and hard-working Temple team. They were tested in many ways and did a brilliant job of coming together and working towards a common goal, no matter the circumstance,” Figlio said.
Monmouth will look to keep the momentum going as they take on Drexel in Philadelphia again on Friday, Sept. 23 at 6 p.m. and play next at home on Sunday, Sept. 25 against Bucknell at 1 p.m.
PHOTO COURTESY of Monmouth University Athletics