- Category: Volume 88 (Fall 2016 - Spring 2017)
- Published: 15 February 2017
- Written by JOHN SORCE | SPORTS EDITOR
The men’s lacrosse team defeated a ranked opponent for the first time in program history as they took down No. 16 Villanova 12-10 on Sunday afternoon at Villanova Stadium.
Villanova came out of the gates strong scoring the game’s first three goals, but the Hawks answered back and scored four of the next five goals to tie the game at four midway through the second period.
Monmouth took its first lead in the fourth period when senior midfielder Tyler Keen completed his hat trick. He went on to add another goal with 6:20 to go in the period, which gave Monmouth a 10-7 lead that they would not relinquish. The game was tied at seven heading into the final period and MU outscored the Wildcats 5-3 in that frame. Senior midfielder Zack Schleicher also scored his first career hat trick.
This was the program’s first victory over a current Big East Conference opponent. The team improved to 2-2 all-time in season openers and 3-1 all-time in road opening games.
“That win means a lot to our program, school and fan base,” Keen said. “This kind of win shows our potential and where we can be at. Going into Villanova, we knew their plan and I think it was just overall the effort and our championship mentality that we bring every single day is what won us that game.”
“I remember a couple of years ago where wins were hard to come by and beating a Villanova team that is highly regarded in the lacrosse community,” Head Coach Brian Fisher said. “They have a very good team this year, especially on the offensive end with a couple of All-Americans. It was a good win for us and to start the season off with a win against a good team is a good springboard for us for this week of practice and has us looking forward to our next opponent.”
Senior goalkeeper Nick Hreshko recorded a career-high 15 saves and was named Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Defensive Player of the Week. This marked the fourth time in Monmouth history a goalie has stopped 15 shots and the first time since Garrett Conaway made 15 saves at Detroit on Apr. 11, 2015.
Entering their fourth season as a program, the blue and white were picked to finish second in the MAAC Preseason Coaches’ Poll.
“That exposure for us is great as a young program,” Fisher said. “It helps us in recruiting and it has helped us develop a fan base and our people in our sports information department do a really good job. It certainly helps us but we don’t get caught up in it. Our focus is on each day trying to get better and trying to make this a memorable season because we do feel that we can make this a special year.”
Senior defender Andrew Grajewski was named to the Preseason All-MAAC Team. He is the only Hawk to start every game each of the last three years and was an All-MAAC First Team defender as a sophomore in 2015.
The Hawks finished with 38 total points and finished behind Quinnipiac, who were a unanimous selection to repeat as MAAC Champions. Finishing third was Marist (34), while Siena (24), Canisius (23), Detroit (17) and Manhattan (11) rounded out the ballot.
The Hawks will travel to Hempstead, NY on Saturday, Feb. 18, for a matchup with Hofstra at noon.
“We like to treat each game one opponent at a time and we focus on our goals and we always put our best foot forward going into the weekend,” Keen said.
PHOTO COURTESY of Rene Schleicher