The men’s soccer team continued their strong play in the MAAC this week with road victories over Rider University and Marist University.
“Against Rider and Marist it was key to get that [one] goal and limit our mistakes defensively,” said head coach McCourt. “We have put major focus into forcing teams to really earn scoring opportunities and goals.”
MU took the field for the first time of the week on Wednesday, Oct. 16 when they traveled to Lawrenceville and defeated Rider 1-0.
“It is difficult to win on the road, especially in conference play,” said McCourt. “Getting points away from home really enhances our chance of making the conference tournament.”
Senior Jacob Rubenstein scored the game-winning goal five minutes into the second half of the match on a cross from freshman Colin Stripling which Rubenstein was able to head in to net. “Jacob stepped up and continues to contribute,” said McCourt. “He’s been dealing with injuries all year and when he’s on the field, I feel we’re a different team.”
The Hawks edged the Broncos in shots 7-6 and in corners 4-3. MU was able to put five of their seven shots on goal. Freshman goalkeeper Eric Klenofsky put together a solid performance behind great defense that only forced Klenofsky to make one save. Klenofsky now has two shut-outs in his four career starts and the Hawks are 3-0-1 with him in net.
Rider goalkeeper David Pastuna kept the Broncos in the game with four saves, but his effort came up short without any help from the offense as they were off target on four of their six attempted shots.
On a rainy Saturday night, the Hawks traveled to Poughkeepsie, New York and pulled out another 1-0 victory over Marist University.
It took until the 71st minute for the Hawks to break the tie when senior Joseph Schmid was the beneficiary of a stellar cross from freshman Dave Nigro that Schmid was able to put past a diving goalkeeper.
Marist attempted 11 shots, but was not able to get any of their shots on goal, while MU attempted eight shots and five were on goal. Klenofsky was able to post his second shut out of the week and third in five starts. Marist goalkeeper Anthony Sokalski had four saves for the game.
After the week, MU has yet to lose a game in the MAAC and is currently at the top of the conference with a record of 4-0-1. “We are enjoying playing against new programs. There are new challenges that come with playing unfamiliar opposition. It is a refreshing new challenge for our program,” said Coach McCourt.
After a slow start to begin the season, MU has won four of their last five games. “We have focused hard on limiting some of the mental errors that were happening before conference play,” said Coach McCourt. “Teams now really have to earn any and all scoring chances against us.” The Hawks have limited the opposition to two total goals over the span.
Moving forward, Coach McCourt believes that the Hawks still have room to grow. “We need to continue to limit defensive errors and force teams to have to execute offensively against us. We also need to do a better job of finishing off teams by finishing these extra goal chances that will put games out of reach.”
Three of MU’s final five games are at home, where the Hawks have only lost once this season. The Hawks next test in MAAC play comes on Wednesday Oct. 23, when they take on Saint Peters on The Great Lawn at 7 p.m.
Coach McCourt has high hopes for the rest of the season, but he knows that nothing will come easy, and his team needs to continue to work hard.
“Our plan is to win the MAAC and the MAAC Tourney. Our mentality will determine our success or failure this season. The team commitment has been fantastic. We need to remain focused and motivated everyday. If that happens this team is capable of having a lot of success.”