M Soccer 10.11.17

Men’s Soccer Defeats Iona on Conference Home Opener

Men’s soccer defeated Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) rivals Iona at Hesse Field on the Great Lawn last Wednesday night in their first home conference game of the season by a score of 3-2.

“Conference games are always difficult, so we are happy to come away with the three points,” said Monmouth Head Coach Robert McCourt.

After Iona sent a pair of shots wide, Monmouth opened the scoring around the half hour mark. Freshman midfielder Dan Frisch-Harmon brought the ball to the byline and, while fighting off a defender, cut it back to the six-yard line. Redshirt freshman midfielder John Antunes received the feed and poked the ball into the back of the net with the outside of his foot.

Once again, after withstanding pressure from Iona, Monmouth scored. Near the corner flag, sophomore midfielder Geoffrey Schaefer popped the ball up high near the penalty area. Freshman forward Anes Mrkulic nodded the ball into the box with his head. After it took a bounce, junior defender Zachary Pereira came rushing in and volleyed it past the keeper with his left foot to double Monmouth’s lead just before the halftime break.

“It was a hard-fought conference game tonight,” said McCourt. “I was happy with the energy we had in the first half.”

Iona came out firing in the second half and snatched a goal back early on. Senior midfielder Luis Mendoza swung a free kick into the box that was met by the head of junior defender Humbert Ferrer, who sent it in off the post.

Nearly ten minutes later, Monmouth pushed their lead over Iona back to two. Sophomore defender Andy Martinez sent a cross into the box which Schaefer headed directly into the ground and right at the goalkeeper, who was unable to prevent the ball from trickling in underneath him.

Iona continued to try to get themselves back into the game, and they did so in the 82nd minute. Ferrer scored his second goal of the night after a set piece was flicked his way and he was able to finish.

While the Hawks were outshot 22-9 by the Gaels, both sides registered six shots on target. Despite late pressure from Iona, Monmouth found a way to hold on for the 3-2 victory.

McCourt said, “Iona is a good team. They showed some tremendous character and had a good second half.”

Monmouth then travelled to Riverdale, NY to take on Manhattan at Gaelic Park on Saturday night. The two sides went into double overtime after playing through a scoreless 105 minutes.

Just moments into the second period of overtime, a defense-splitting pass found junior defender Callum Carsley near the byline who then burst past a Monmouth defender and sent a low ball on the ground into the box. Junior midfielder Ryan Shields tapped the ball past the keeper with his first touch, winning the game for Manhattan.

“Tonight’s loss was a heartbreaker,” said McCourt. “It was a fantastic match with both teams leaving everything they had on the field.” The defeat saw Monmouth drop to 4-6-1 on the season and 1-2-0 in MAAC play.

The Hawks will play their next match Wednesday, Oct. 11 at 7 p.m. in Poughkeepsie, NY as they take on the Marist Red Foxes in another conference battle.