After an incredible season with many ups and downs, the Monmouth University Men’s Soccer Team unfortunately lost to Hofstra University in the Coastal Athletic Association (CAA) Championship game.
On the evening of Saturday, Nov. 11, the Hawks flew into battle at Hofstra University to play in the CAA Championship game. The first half was tough on Monmouth as within the first 15 minutes, both teams were battling it out on the field. In about the 20th minute, Hofstra was able to gain the advantage as their midfielder Teddy Baker got one past goalkeeper #1 Eryk Dymora. Hofstra finished the next 25 minutes with a 1-0 lead, heading into the second half.
As the second half began, the Monmouth Hawks applied the pressure fast, having to keep Hofstra goalkeeper Wessel Speel on his toes as he made a couple of saves against Monmouth. The second half consisted of a change of speed within Monmouth. Players such as #3 Olle Brorsson, #5 Gabe Dahlin, #7 Ben Zakowski, #8 Erik Reis, #10 Griffin Tomas, #11 Bastian Hatcher, #14 Adrian Nesheim Roseth, #22 Jakob Friedman stormed the field, applying even more pressure to Hofstra’s defense. As the second half was coming to an end, at around the 83rd minute, Hofstra was called for a foul inside the box.
This earned Zakowski a penalty kick, in which he charged the ball into the back of the net. With Zakowski’s goal, the second half finished with a 1-1 score. This led the two teams to their first overtime of the night.
Overtime went the same as the first two halves, with both Monmouth and Hofstra eager to score one. At close to six minutes into the first overtime, Hofstra’s midfielder Eliot Goldthrop was able to get one past goalkeeper Dymora in a free kick. This goal brought Hofstra into a 2-1 lead into the second overtime.
The Hawks started strong in the second overtime having shots on goal by Jakob Friedman, Brorsson, and Hatcher in the first five minutes. In an epic play in the last minute of the second overtime, the ball was flying through Hofstra’s sides of the field with shots coming from Zakowski, Dymora, and Reis. They hoped to connect with a player to secure a point, but unfortunately, it never came. Hofstra finished with a score of 2-1, winning the championship.
Throughout the season the Monmouth Men’s Soccer team has fought long and hard to reach many of their goals and achieve what they have achieved. With an overall score of 8-4-6 (win-lose-tie) for the season and winning the CAA Regular Season Title, these talented young men have accumulated many accolades for not only the team but also individuals. Some awards given to players and the team include multiple CAA Defensive Player of the Week, CAA Rookie of the Week, College Soccer News Team of the Week, a place on Top Drawer Soccer Team of the Week, USC Team Academic Award for the 2022-23 season, and more.
With this great run of a season, Coach Robert McCourt added, “[The CAA Championship] was a difficult loss for us. We played some incredible soccer for long periods of the game but just couldn’t find the back of the net. I am really proud of our players. At the moment it’s disappointing but upon reflection, we will all realize that it was an incredible season. Winning a CAA conference regular season title is an incredible achievement. One that we can be really proud of.”
With a valiant effort, these players have poured their hearts and souls out onto the field and into the games. Although they came up short in the last game, you cannot take away from what these players have ultimately worked for and the many obstacles that they have faced. The countless hours spent training, gathering chemistry with one another, and building trust have entrusted a certain unity within the team. With the season finishing, many look forward to what Monmouth has in store for the coming year.