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Sports

Men’s Soccer Downed by Columbia, but Records First Win Against Howard

Dave Nigro 4 3Monmouth University’s men’s soccer suffered its fourth defeat of the season on Wednesday, Sept. 14 at the hands of Columbia with a score of 4-3 at Hesse Field on The Great Lawn in West Long Branch.

“There’s a lot of disappointment that we’re not winning games, but it’s a good group of guys so they’re working hard together,” said Monmouth head coach Robert McCourt. “They haven’t lost faith in the process, so no pressure.”

The first strike of the seven goal thriller came just over five minutes in when junior midfielder Jake Areman finished from inside of the box to give the Hawks the lead. Senior forward Dave Nigro assisted the goal, but there was much more to come from him as the game wore on.

About 20 minutes later, Columbia drew even when junior forward Arthur Bosua scored his first goal of the season with a close range header from a corner kick. But less than 60 seconds later, the Hawks took the lead back when they were awarded a penalty kick for a foul that took place in the box. Nigro stepped up and rolled the ball into the bottom right corner to make it 2-1 in favor of the hosts.

Just before the end of the first half, Monmouth won a free kick in a good position outside of the box. Senior midfielder Colin Stripling’s low drive was easily claimed by junior Columbia keeper Zach Adler, though.

The second half saw a quick flurry of goals in which both sides went back and forth. After a foul in the box, the Lions had a penalty kick of their own, which junior defender Alex Bangerl converted.

Once again, Monmouth had an answer. Moments after Bangerl’s penalty, Nigro scored his second goal of the match. Sophomore midfielder Anderson Asiedu launched a long ball into the box from midfield which Nigro chested down and, while muscling off a defender, calmly flicked the ball into the far corner of the net.

Monmouth’s short-lived 3-2 lead was cancelled out when Columbia swung across into the box, and a clash of heads lead to a loose ball, which senior defender Rhys Williams gathered and scored from close range.

Shortly after equalizing for a third time, the Lions scored what proved to be the game-winner. Senior midfielder Andrew Tinari cut in from the right and beat a defender before threading an inch-perfect through ball into the box for sophomore midfielder Dylan Mott to prod past the keeper with his first touch. All four of the second half goals were scored in a span of five minutes.

Later, Columbia sophomore midfielder Francisco Agrest’s free kick from twenty-five yards out was parried away by junior goalkeeper Zach Neugebauer. The Hawks pressed for an equalizer in the last few minutes, but sophomore midfielder Jalil Blalock’s shot hit the side netting as time expired. Columbia took the win, 4-3, improving to 3-1-0 on the season.

With the loss, Monmouth men’s soccer remained unable to keep a clean sheet this season.

“We really miss Eric Klenofsky's leadership as a goalkeeper. He’s a coach on the field and dictates what goes on around him,” McCourt said. “We struggled with Chris Seager in goal and now we put Zack Neugebauer in tonight and we gave up a lot of goals again. We’re trying to figure out the process.”

On another note, Monmouth’s three goals against Columbia were the most that they have scored in a single match so far this season.

“We scored three goals against a really good team, and three goals in college soccer is not such a bad thing. We just got to figure out the defensive side,” said McCourt.

On Saturday, Sept. 17, the Hawks travelled to Washington D.C. where they achieved their first win and shutout of the season versus Howard by a score of 1-0, improving to 1-4-2 on the season. Freshman defender Michael Luke scored his first collegiate goal off a corner kick from Areman in the game’s 38th minute, proving to be enough as Neugebauer recorded five saves en route to his first career victory.

“We’re really happy to get the win,” McCourt said. “They’ve been working hard all year and our team chemistry has been great. The guys are very excited about getting the conference portion of the schedule started.”

The Hawks are not in action again until September 27th when they will begin their Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference play against Manhattan at Hesse Field on The Great Lawn in West Long Branch at 7 p.m. The game will be available to watch live on ESPN3.

PHOTO COURTESY of Mark Brown/B51 Photography

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