Tue09192017

Last updateThu, 14 Sep 2017 4am

Sports

Field Hockey Claims Third Straight MAAC Regular Season Title

WFH Alyssa Ercolino FairfieldThe Monmouth University Field Hockey team secured the MAAC Regular Season Title and earned the right to host the MAAC championship for the third straight year by posting back-to-back home shutouts over Bryant and Fairfield over the weekend. They defeated Bryant University on Friday afternoon 4-0 and Fairfield University on Sunday afternoon 2-0.

Friday’s game against Bryant was a total team effort with both facets, offense and defense, working collectively to achieve a victory. Monmouth was able to jump out to an early lead as freshman forward stand out Josephine van der Hoop scored what proved to be the game winner in the second minute. Junior defender Julie Laszlo also made her presence felt, recording four points of her own on the way to the win.

It was the defensive effort that Monmouth put forward that really was of note in this game. The defense was able to limit the Bulldogs to five shots and did not let up a shot until the second half. Junior goalie Christen Piersanti made two saves on and with the win recorded her 12th career shutout.

“I would say we have lines of defense. We really focus on playing from our forward line to midfield to the backfield,” Head Coach Carli Figlio said about what makes her team’s defensive so effective. “The best kind of defense is no defense from the attacking side. Our defenders have been world class starting with Casey Hanna, as a senior she has been real solid for us and so has Julie [Laszlo] in-front of her.”

Sundays tilt against Fairfield was an emotional one for the team. For one, it was senior day and secondly it was against the defending MAAC Champions who last year knocked out Monmouth in the tournament  on their home field on their way to winning it all.

The Hawks however were up to the challenge and blanked the Stags 2-0 in the hotly contested game. Both teams were equally matched, exchanging chances throughout, but the Hawks were the ones who capitalized.

Scoring commenced in the 25th minute when Monmouth senior midfielder Alyssa Ercolino scored her first of the day off an assist by junior defender Julie Laszlo. The game would go into the half with Monmouth holding on to a thin 1-0 lead.

The second half was just as competitive and the Hawks weathered two green cards. The first green card occurred in the 44th minute on Ercolino and the second was on sophomore defender Georgia Garden Bachop in the 56th minute. The defensive successfully defended the two green cards on route to the win.

“I think everyone has each other’s back. If I step up to the ball someone is recovering right behind me to make a block tackle if they get through,” senior defender Casey Hanna said on the team’s defense. “I think we all work well together to make sure there is lines of defense if someone steps up to the ball.”

The game remained 1-0 until late into the second half when the Laszlo to Ercolino connection struck again. With two minutes to go and with Fairfield pressing hard, Ercolino was able to score her second goal of the day and secure the win for her team.

“It’s unbelievable, it is definitely a day I will always remember, especially since it was against Fairfield a team we lost to last year in the championship, so it was really great” said Ercolino on the win.

With the pair of victories Monmouth earned the program’s fourth regular season title and went undefeated at home for the season.  The Hawks will take on Sacred Heart this Friday at 6:30 pm to close conference play and will be hosting the MAAC Tournament November 4th and 6th.

PHOTO COURTESY of Monmouth University Athletics

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