The Monmouth University women’s soccer team finished their season Friday, Nov. 6 at Hesse Field on The Great Lawn after suffering a 2-1 defeat at the hands of sixth-seeded Siena College.
Within the opening three minutes of the match, Siena’s Madison Vasquez connected with a header that ricocheted off the crossbar into the penalty area. After a failed clearance and a blocked shot by the Monmouth defenders, the ball fell back at the feet of Vasquez, who side-footed it into the back of the net putting the Saints up by one.
Nearly ten minutes later, MU’s junior forward Erica Murphy charged past a defender and shifted the ball onto her left foot before unleashing a strike just outside the box. However, the shot was easily collected by Siena’s goalkeeper, Liz Rogan. Seconds later, MU junior forward Alexis McTamney also had her shot blocked.
In the 31st minute, Siena midfielder Kristen Connors floated a cross into Monmouth’s box to teammate defender Allison Clark. Clark sent the ball into the far corner of the goal with a header that glanced over the right shoulder of MU junior goalkeeper Sydney Lavan.
In the final fifteen minutes of the first half, Murphy saw a pair of shots go wide while McTamney also had an effort go wide.
The second half began with both sides testing the waters, as each team fought to score, but both had their shots fly wide of goal.
The Hawks notched a goal in the 62nd minute of play when Murphy was brought down in the box. The forward smashed the ball past Rogan from the penalty spot after a stutter-stepped approach. The goal was Murphy’s 16th of the season.
However, chances were hard to come by for the Hawks. With about ten minutes to go in the match, Siena’s defense was able to clear a Monmouth cross, but the ball rolled straight towards junior forward Julie Spracklin. She had a first time shot from distance, but it sailed wide of the goal.
A tense moment for Siena came in the 86th minute of play. An attempted clearance by Siena’s defense from only a few yards in front of goal was blocked by senior midfielder Brianne Boyle, but the ball agonizingly ricocheted less than a yard away from the far post. This was MU’s final chance to tie the game.
After 90 minutes, Siena officially defeated Monmouth and moved onto the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) finals.
The Hawks clinched their third straight MAAC regular season title just a few weeks ago by ending the regular season with a 9-1-0 record in MAAC play. They earned the number one seed plus a first round bye in the MAAC championships. The Hawks also hosted the tournament at their home field in West Long Branch, NJ.
However, they only made it as far as the semi-final. Monmouth finished this year’s campaign with an overall record of 13-3-2.
After beating Monmouth in the semi-finals, the Saints went on to become the first sixth-seed ever to win the MAAC Championship by beating Manhattan College 5-2 on Sunday, Nov. 8. They finished the season with an overall record of 12-6-3.
Siena College will represent the MAAC in the 2015 NCAA Women’s Soccer Championship.
PHOTO COURTESY of Taylor Jackson