The Monmouth Hawks men’s soccer team has improved their overall record to 83 with a win over the Bryant Bulldogs this past weekend. Just like the men have been doing for most of the season, they once again dominated the field early on in the game.
Eighteen minutes into the first half, freshman midfielder, Derek Luke, was able to put the Hawks on the board with a quick shot finding the back left corner of the net to make the scoreboard read 10. The assist was awarded to senior Christian Nogueira. Freshman Kalle Sotka scored the second goal shortly afterwards at the 36 minute mark by finding the left corner just like Luke was able to do; Sotka was assisted by junior standout Ryan Clark making the score 20 Monmouth.
With the theme of both goals being scored to the left of Bryant’s goalie, it could be assumed that the men noticed trends in their opponents play. “We do a balance of both [focus on their own skill as well as the opponents weakness] but try not to focus on the opposition too much. We don’t go crazy with scouting of other teams.” Coach McCourt continues, “We may find one or two weaknesses our opponents have and go with that but we try to focus on our own strengths over scouting the other team.” McCourt also commented on the freshmen’s play by stating, “The freshmen stepped up that game and are having a good season all together.”
Beginning the second half much like the first, the Hawks took complete control over Bryant right from the opening tap. The most noticeable difference in the teams’ play was the physical aspect of the sport. It appeared that both teams had less precautions about receiving a card and were mainly concerned about finding the goal. In a span of five minutes, Bryant managed to receive four fouls. Three of Bryant’s players were handed yellow cards while Monmouth stayed clean. Bryant finished the game with 19 fouls while Monmouth had 13 fouls.
Along with the Hawks actual play being impressive, their box score showed a team who deserved to win. Monmouth outshot the Bulldogs 193 easing MU goalie Alex Blackburn’s day with gaining merely two saves. The team also notched their seventh shutout for the season.
MU is currently in fourth place for their conference and will be hosted by first place Farleigh Dickinson University this upcoming Friday. When asked if it will raise some fears playing a team who is currently 31 at home, sophomore Miguel Rios made it seemed like that was not one of their concerns. “We’re definitely not worried about playing away. We have a really confident team this year and can play wherever. Our skills make us able to play on turf, grass, wherever.”
Although Monmouth does have a better overall record than FDU’s 722 record, they do not have as many wins in the conference. A true matchup of skills between these two teams can be seen this Friday at 7:00 pm in Teaneck, NJ.
PHOTO COURTESY of MU Athletics