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Men’s Lax Shakes Off SJU, Dusts Hampton in First CAA Win

Prior to the conference matchup versus Hampton on Saturday, April 8, the Hawks hosted a midweek clash against Saint Joseph’s on Tuesday, April 4. The visitors have been receiving votes in both national polls the past weeks, providing Monmouth with a challenging opponent.

The afternoon matchup at Kessler Stadium was coined the ‘Battle of the Hawks,’ as both Monmouth and Saint Joseph’s have the same mascot. This was the last non-conference game of the 2023 season for Coach Brian Fisher and his team.

Saint Joseph’s started off flying and found themselves up 3-0 halfway through the first quarter.

Monmouth came back in the game after fifth-year Cade Stratton and freshman Ryan O’Rourke showed some individual class and helped their team with two goals, putting a score of 3-2 on the board at the end of the first quarter.

Within the first minute of the second quarter, the visitors extended their lead to two and stapled their foot to the gas pedal. After just a couple minutes of play, Monmouth was trailing by four and ended up netting an important goal with a second left in the first half after senior Matt Karsian sent freshman Ty Caffarelli away to make it 6-3 going into halftime.

This would end up being Monmouth’s last goal of the game. Saint Joseph’s dominated the third and fourth quarter, scoring seven more to end the game with a score of 13-3 in their favor.

Saint Joseph’s outshot Monmouth by just five shots, but the visiting Hawks were very efficient with the opportunities they created for themselves. Turnovers and faceoffs were evenly matched between both teams, but the visitors were better at ground balls, while Monmouth created more extra-man opportunities.

The Monmouth attack was unable to make a fist in the second half against a solid defense from Saint Joseph’s. The visitors had much better luck up front, cashing in on the tremendous chances they created and extending their lead quickly.

Monmouth had a chance to redeem themselves versus the Hampton Pirates for a CAA matchup down in Virginia on Saturday, April 8. The Armstrong Stadium in Hampton, Virginia was the stage for Monmouth’s fourth conference game. Both the Pirates and the Hawks were without conference wins going into the game, so both teams were looking to earn that much-needed win.

The Hawks started off strong, contrary to earlier in the week, and opened the scoring within the first few minutes of the first quarter. Caffarelli scored his 16th goal of the season to put Monmouth ahead, a lead that the blue and white would not relinquish for the rest of the game. The Hawks scored two more goals in the first 15 minutes and ended the quarter with a 3-0 lead.

Monmouth did not lose their flow and went on to score four more goals in the second quarter, expanding their lead to 7-0 with 4:10 left to play in the first half. Hampton refused to go down without a fight as they scored their first goal of the day with a little under two minutes left in the half to make the score 7-1. The score at halftime was 7-1 in favor of the Hawks.

Monmouth’s Ryan O’Rourke scored his first ever hat-trick in the first half of the game, a key part of the Hawks’ success on attack. Caffarelli joined his teammate and scored the first two goals of the third quarter, not only putting Monmouth up 9-1, but earning a hat-trick as well. Cafarelli would end the game with four goals and two assists, becoming the first rookie to score 20 or more goals in a single season since Bryce Wasserman did so in 2015. Hampton would not score in the entire third quarter while Stratton scored two more goals to put the Hawks up 11-1 going into the final period.

The home team outscored Monmouth for the first time in the game during the fourth quarter, 5-3, but had been trailing by too much to come near the Hawks. Among the scorers for Monmouth in the final frame was Max Sullivan, a junior, who scored the last goal of the game – his first career goal for Monmouth. The Hawks earned the program’s first-ever CAA win after a dominating 14-6 win over the Hampton Pirates.

The Monmouth defense kept the Pirates to one goal in the first three quarters of the game and goalie Andrew Kuhlman matched his career high with 14 saves in 33 recorded shots. Lance Martineau led the Monmouth defense alongside Kuhlman and caused a career-best four turnovers. Matt Soutar dominated faceoffs, going 17-7 and even got to pick up his first assist of the season. Stratton still leads the team with 28 points total for the season after adding two more goals and assists to his record, becoming the third Hawk in Monmouth history to score 60 career goals.

Head Coach Brian Fischer was buzzing with the win and the trip overall, “It felt good to pick up a win on the road this afternoon to cap off a great road trip. We were able to make a stop in Washington, D.C. to break up the long trip to Virginia Beach on Friday which allowed us to check out some of the monuments and take a tour of the National Museum of African American History and Culture. It was a great experience for our team.”

With this win, the Hawks moved to 4-2 on the road this season and snapped their five-game losing streak. Monmouth is now 1-3 in CAA play and 5-6 overall for the season. The Hawks will travel to Connecticut on Saturday, April 15 for another CAA matchup against the Fairfield Stags, who are also 1-3 in conference play. The game will start at 3:30 p.m. and will be broadcasted live on LacrosseTV.