W Field Hockey 11.08.17

Field Hockey Loses to Fairfield in Conference Final

The Monmouth University field hockey team fell short of securing their second straight Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Championship this past Sunday. The Hawks defeated Rider on Friday to earn the chance to play for the championship but were unable to overcome Fairfield for the crown.

The Hawks entered the tournament as the number one seed and with it came the right to host the tournament at So Sweet a Cat Field. On Friday afternoon, the Hawks took on and defeated four seeded rival Rider by the score of 2-0. The game saw no scoring in the first half, as both teams buckled down on the defensive effort.

Coming out of the half, Monmouth was awarded a penalty corner chance in the second minute of play. Senior forward Meg Donahue converted the opportunity with a powerful shot that found the back of the net.

Monmouth added an additional goal ten minutes later to pad their lead to two. This time it was senior midfielder Rachel Konowal who batted the ball of the air and into the net. The Hawks never looked back from here and came away with the shutout win.

Monmouth’s defense was once again stifling in the win. The defense only surrendered a combined three shots all day and thwarted all offensive efforts from the Broncos. Senior goalkeeper Christen Piersanti recorded one save in route to securing her 19th career shutout.

“It is always tough going against a longtime rival in a tournament game and Rider came to play today.  We started the second half strong and came out with a lot more energy and adjusted our mindset to allow us to establish our attack better.  It’s always nice to play in front of a great crowd and to be able to play for another title at home is a tremendous honor,” Head Coach Carli Figlio said.

Sunday’s noon time matchup against three-seeded Fairfield lived up to the pregame hype. This was the second straight year that Fairfield and Monmouth have met in the championship game. Monmouth captured the title last year in a nail-baiting victory, but this year it was the Stags who came away with a 2-1 victory.

On and off rain added to the pregame atmosphere, in front of a packed house at So Sweet a Cat Field. Sophomore forward Josephine van der Hoop put the Hawks up one in the eighth minute of play. Both teams than proceeded to exchange some scoring chances but neither team broke through and the game went into the half with the Hawks up one.

Exiting the half, the Stags struck next to tie the game at one a piece with 28 minutes remaining on the clock. Fairfield then scored the all-important go-ahead goal in the 57th minute off a corner opportunity and Monmouth was faced with a difficult task.

The final 13 minutes featured a gritty Monmouth team continuing to battle it out until the clock reached zero. Figlio made the call to pull the goalie in the 65th minute and the Hawks applied heavy pressure on the Stags in the final minutes of play. In the end, Monmouth was unable to convert any of the chances and Fairfield came away as the 2017 MAAC Champions. 

“We played well, the first half was great. They gained momentum in the second half. I think the message is that nothing is guaranteed. We have to use this to build on for next year. More importantly, I want to thank our seniors for all that they have done. They are the winningest group that has come through and they have set the bar really high. I want to thank them for everything,” Figlio said.

The Hawks will say goodbye to a senior class that had a record for most wins as they walk away with a total of 53. Monmouth’s future is bright, however, as they will return many talented players and look to once again return to the championship game next year.

“We have strong returnee group, we will be a younger team due to six seniors leaving. We have a strong core and hopefully this is motivation for us to work harder to come back to this position and win it,” Figlio said.