Men’s Soccer Rallies to Beat Albany

The men’s soccer team came away with a come-from-behind road win over the University of Albany Great Danes this past Sunday, Sept. 7 by a score of 2-1 in double overtime.

After coming off a 2-0 loss at the hands of Lehigh and falling behind 1-0 in the first half, the Hawks showed their toughness and determination by battling back to get the win with a late second half goal from junior defender Derek Luke, and overtime game winner from junior forward Jelani Williams. With the win, MU moved to 2-1 on the season while the Great Danes fell to 1-1-2.

“I’m really proud of these guys,” said MU head coach Robert McCourt after the game. “I thought we deserved the game today so I was really proud of their performance. It was a complete team effort.”

Albany got off to a quick start to open the contest, as the Danes were able to get two shots in the first ten minutes of play. However, they were unable to capitalize on either opportunity, with both of the attempts sailing high over the goal.

The Hawks luck ran out, however, when Albany’s Bernardo Mattos took a ball in from teammate Philip Persson, and headed it into the top left corner of the net in the game’s 21st minute.

Things did not get any better for the Hawks following the goal as the Great Danes continued to pressure MU’s defense. In the 26th minute, Albany’s Martin Gorrie nearly increased his team’s lead by two, but Hawk sophomore goalkeeper, Eric Klenofsky, made the save to keep the lead at one.

Neither team had many great chances to score the rest of the half, and the two teams went into their respective locker rooms with the Great Danes still leading 1-0.

MU picked up play after the second half opened, and began generating more scoring opportunities that resulted in seven shot attempts throughout the half. The Hawks seventh attempt proved to be the charm when junior defender John Egan gained control of a ball and put it past the keeper to finally get his team on the board, tying the game at one in the last minutes of play.

Klenofsky played a key role in the half by allowing the blue and white a chance for the equalizer with two saves.

With only minutes remaining after the score, neither team could break the tie, and the game headed into overtime.

In an extremely physical first overtime period, that featured seven fouls in only 10 minutes, neither the Hawks nor Great Danes saw any legitimate scoring opportunities, and the game headed into the second overtime still knotted at one.

Only one scoring chance was seen in the second OT, but it proved to be the deciding goal. With only five minutes remaining before the game’s end, MU was able to complete its comeback effort when Williams took a pass from senior midfielder, Bryant Avalos, and beat the Great Dane’s keeper to send the Hawks home with their second win.

On the night, MU managed to outshoot Albany with 11 shot attempts compared to nine from the Great Danes, but both teams had an equal amount of shots on target with four. Klenofsky totaled three saves for the contest while his Albany counterpart stopped two MU attempts.

After the win, the Hawks will look to keep their momentum going this Saturday, Sept. 13, when they welcome Holy Cross to West Long Branch. MU hopes to keep Holy Cross winless, as the Crusaders are currently 0-1-1 on the young season. Kickoff is set for 7 pm on The Great Lawn.

MU will also look to solidify its spot among the Nation’s Top 30 after receiving votes in the College Soccer News Poll. The Hawks are currently ranked second in the NSCAA Northeast Regional Rankings.