Men’s Soccer Fighting for Playoff Spot

The men’s soccer team currently finds themselves in the midst of an extremely close race to qualify for this year’s MAAC Championships. After earning one win and one tie this past week, the Hawks currently hold a 7-3-6 overall record, and 3-1-5 record in conference.

MU’s 3-1-5 mark in the MAAC gives the team 14 total points on the season, which ties them with Sienna. The two teams currently hold the final two spots for the six team championship.

Things looked good to start the week, as the Hawks came away with a 1-0 win over in-state rival Rider on Wednesday, October 29. Sophomore goalie Eric Klenosfky continued his stellar play this season by making four saves en route to his 10th shutout of the season.

Despite both teams combining for a total of 25 shots, the contest was low-scoring, and not many great balls were put on net.

With less than ten minutes remaining in regulation, MU finally managed to finish one of their opportunities, and found the back of the net to take a 1-0 lead. Junior defender, Derek Luke, got the chance kick started when his shot attempt was blocked out of bounds, and gave the Hawks a corner kick. The corner proved to be the decisive moment of the match, as it resulted in senior forward, Dom Sarle, beating the keeper for his fifth goal of the season in the 83rd minute to give MU a 1-0 lead.

It wasn’t easy sailing for the Hawks from there, however, as Rider continued to fight. The Broncs managed to get off three shots in less than minutes, but Klenofsky refused to be beaten and made saves on all three to preserve the win.

In their second game of the week the Hawks showed great toughness and perseverance by coming back to tie Sienna after trailing most of the game.

“Our guys showed tremendous character on the road,” said head coach Robert McCourt after the game. “The team rallied up and played very well. We hit the crossbar twice and scored a fantastic goal. In the end, I feel we were unlucky to only get one point out of the game.”

It was a bit of a disappointment for the Hawks, who could have almost solidified a playoff spot with a win, as they outshot Sienna 16-10 on the night, including a 12-4 advantage in regulation, but could only manage to equal the Saint Bernard’s with one goal.

Sienna was the first to get on the board when Alex Portela beat Klenofsky in the fifth minute of the contest. The goal was scored on a freak play, as a free kick from 40 yards out was put into the box, and then headed by another Sienna player to Portela who found the back of the net.

MU was finally able to get the equalizer over 60 minutes later when sophomore midfielder, Brandon McCarthy, took a cross from fellow sophomore, Miguel Alves, and beat the Sienna keeper in the 70th minute.

That would be all the scoring for the contest, as neither team could get another goal across the rest of regulation or in either overtime period. Klenofsky came up huge for the Hawks during extra time, as he made a save in both periods to keep the game tied .

The Hawks will play their regular season finale Wednesday, Nov. 5 at St. Peter’s. A win would all but guarantee the blue and white a playoff spot, while a loss would put them in great jeopardy of not qualifying.