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Sports

Men’s Soccer Opens Conference Play with Win Over Manhattan

MS Colin Stripling v ManhattanMonmouth men’s soccer began the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) portion of their fall 2016 schedule with a win over the Manhattan Jaspers last Wednesday night, 2-1, at Hesse Field on the Great Lawn.

“We’re fighting some adversity with sickness and injury so I have to give the guys a lot of credit that they went out there and got the three points,” said Head Coach Robert McCourt after the win.

The action began just five minutes into the match when Manhattan senior midfielder Andrew Melitsanopoulos was shown a yellow card for a foul in the box. Junior midfielder Jake Areman stepped up to the penalty spot, but his shot was parried by the goalkeeper into the path of senior midfielder Colin Stripling, who put the rebound into the back of the net to give Monmouth a 1-0 lead.

Later in the first half, the Hawks doubled their advantage. Senior forward David Nigro, who had won MAAC Offensive Player of the Week a week earlier, teed up a shot just outside of the box for Stripling. With his first touch, the midfielder side-footed the ball into the top right corner of the net for his fourth goal of the season.

“Colin [Stripling] has been absolutely fantastic all season. He’s been one of the guys that’s kind of carrying us,” McCourt said. “He’s the heart and soul of the team, so I’m not surprised. He earns everything that he gets. Hopefully he can keep building on it, too.”

Meanwhile, after recovering from injury, senior goalkeeper and Captain Eric Klenofsky made his return to the pitch for the first time in over a month en route to his 32nd career win.

With just fifteen minutes to go in the match, the visitors pulled one back through junior defender Joe Hulme. The referee brandished a yellow card for Stripling for a foul in the box. Hulme stepped up and converted his penalty kick, putting Manhattan on the board.

However, Hulme’s goal was not enough, and Monmouth ran out 2-1 winners. With the loss, the Jaspers fell to 0-7-1 on the season and 0-1-0 in the MAAC.

The Hawks experienced different fortunes on Saturday afternoon when they travelled to hOURglass rivals Saint Peter’s, where they were defeated 1-0 at Jaroschack Field in Jersey City.

The two sides remained scoreless deep into the second half in a match that was just about even. Both teams recorded ten shots throughout the ninety minutes, but it was just one of those twenty that hit the back of the net.

With overtime looming large, Peacocks’ junior defender Andrew Romero swung a long cross into the box from the left. It was senior defender Louis Mobbs who headed home with less than thirty seconds remaining in regulation time to win it for the hosts, who improved to 2-6-2 on the season and 1-1-0 in the MAAC.

Monmouth, in a heartbreaking fashion, saw their strong conference start halted by the loss, falling to 2-5-2 on the season and 1-1-0 in the MAAC. The Hawks return to action tonight at 7 p.m. at Hesse Field on the Great Lawn in a rematch of last year’s MAAC championship versus hOURglass rival Rider. The match will be available to stream online via ESPN3.

PHOTO COURTESY of Mark Brown/B51 Photography

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