Soccer 1

Men’s Soccer Extends Unbeaten Streak

Monmouth men’s soccer travelled to hOURglass rivals Rider University last Wednesday night, where they drew 1-1 after 110 minutes of play at Ben Cohen Field, bumping their record to 7-3-2, 3-0-1 in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference while their opponents moved to 6-4-1, 1-2-1 in the MAAC.

In a matchup of two MAAC heavyweights, goal-scoring opportunities were scarce in the early going. Just before the hour mark, the deadlock was broken. In the 53rd minute, redshirt sophomore midfielder Colin Stripling found space near the corner of the box and ripped a shot at Rider’s junior goalkeeper David Pastuna. While Pastuna made the initial save, he was unable to fully corral the ball and prevent Monmouth from going up 1-0. Freshman defender Danny Figarella popped into the danger area and deposited the ball into the back of the net to give the Hawks the advantage. Monmouth’s breakthrough was Figarella’s second goal of the season. 

Less than ten minutes later, the hosts answered back. Rider’s junior midfielder Adrien Huss sent a ball into the box that was guided into the back of the net by the head of sophomore forward Jose Aguinaga.

Monmouth freshman forward Jalil Blalock responded with a shot from just outside the box that forced Pastuna to tip it over the bar, conceding the corner. The corner kick was cleared over the end line by the Rider defense. The following corner resulted in a header from freshman defender Zachary Pereira that glanced wide right of the Rider net.

Late in the match, Rider turned up the pressure by creating a host of chances, all of which failed. Junior goalkeeper Eric Klenofsky made a pair of saves while junior forward Zach Bond’s shot in the 85th minute flew just off course.

After ninety minutes, the two rivals were forced into extra time to battle it out for all three points. Senior midfielder Dan Pizzimenti caused some trouble with a shot that just missed out on hitting the target in the 96th minute. Meanwhile, Klenofsky kept the home team at bay by blocking senior midfielder Florian Valot’s effort a few minutes later.

In the second half of extra time, the Hawks looked for the winner, but Monmouth could not find the opportunity they needed to secure the road win. Stripling seized a shooting opportunity in the 101st minute, but he could not keep the strike on target.

After 110 minutes of play, the two sides shared the points. 

The Hawks were also in action this past Saturday, where they defeated Quinnipiac at home by a score of 3-1. Junior striker Dave Nigro’s heroics helped Monmouth defeat their conference rival, improving their record to 8-3-2 (4-0-1 MAAC), while the Bobcats dropped to 0-7-4 (0-2-2 MAAC). After Nigro opened the scoring in the 11th minute, the forward was fouled in the box and Monmouth were given a penalty. Senior defender David Acuna Camacho slotted it home. In the 65th minute, Nigro sent a through ball up to senior defender Derek Luke, who ripped a stunning strike into the top corner to put the Hawks up by three. 

“All the credit goes to Derek Luke, I did nothing on that goal, that was an unbelievable strike and I’m just so happy for him to get one,” said Nigro.

Quinnipiac showed some life less than ten minutes later when senior defender Tobias Esche converted a penalty kick in the 72nd, but it was merely a consolation goal as Monmouth claimed victory.

“Quinnipiac’s a great program,” said Monmouth Head Coach Rob McCourt. “They’re going through a bit of a tough period right now, but it’s always a big game for us so it was great to see our guys come out and score three goals against a quality opponent.” 

Monmouth, who are now undefeated in their last ten games, returns to action tonight, where they will face Saint Peter’s at Hesse Field on The Great Lawn. The match, which is set to kick off at 7 p.m., is to be televised on ESPN 3.

PHOTO COURTESY of Monmouth Athletics