Men’s soccer gained its first win of the season away to Princeton on Saturday night on Myslik Field at Roberts Stadium thanks to a late goal from senior defender and Captain Zachary Pereira.
“It felt good to get a win against a very good team in Princeton, especially at their facility where it’s hard to get a win,” said Head Coach Robert McCourt. “Our guys showed a lot of character, and we were up against it for a lot of the game.”
Princeton were prevented from having an opportunity to take the lead early on when the referee’s initial call for a penalty kick was revoked and changed to a corner kick.
Much of the game was played in Monmouth’s half as the hosts dominated possession and probed for an opening goal. Princeton came close to finding that goal just before halftime when senior defender Sean McSherry found his way past three defenders after a turnover, but his effort was saved.
Monmouth freshman goalkeeper Sean Murray made seven saves to keep his team in the game. The stopper was awarded both Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Defensive Player of the Week as well as Rookie of the Week honors for his efforts.
In the 57th minute, Princeton were once again denied a goal-scoring opportunity by the officials. Freshman midfielder Moulay Hamza Kanzi Belghiti put the ball into the back of the net after connecting with a cross into the box, but the referee blew for a high leg and disallowed the goal due to dangerous play.
Princeton continued to create chances as the game wore on, but it was in the 84th minute that the Hawks took a surprise lead against the run of play. Sophomore midfielder Chris Scheuerman swung a cross into the penalty area and Pereira was on the end of it with a diving header that gave Monmouth the win with their only shot on target of the game.
Though the Hawks were outshot by Princeton 19-5 and had one corner kick to Princeton’s eleven, they earned their first win of the season.
McCourt said, “We dug in and found a way to get a result. We’re hoping that we can continue to build off of this and start a little run.”
Monmouth men’s soccer began their season with three losses to non-conference opposition. After a 4-0 defeat on the road to Denver, the Hawks returned home but were edged by Lafayette, 1-0.
Monmouth showed improvement away to Penn on Aug. 31st after coming back from being two goals down to send the game into overtime, but the Quakers ended the game with a goal just minutes into the extra period.
“The team showed a lot of character tonight coming back from a two-goal deficit,” McCourt said after the loss. “We are still in a building process with quite a few new players, so games like this are great learning experiences. We will continue to stay tight as a group and move forward together.”
The Hawks hosted Binghamton next where they earned their first point of the season in a game that ended scoreless after double overtime. With Saturday’s win over Princeton, Monmouth men’s soccer improves to 1-3-1 on the season.
Monmouth will return to action on Friday evening when they welcome Columbia to Hesse Field on The Great Lawn. The match will be televised on ESPN+ and kickoff is slated for 7:00 p.m.
PHOTO COURTESY of Mark Brown Photos