Sports

Men's Soccer Edged by Columbia, 1-0

M Soccer 09.19.18Men’s soccer was defeated by Columbia on Friday night at Hesse Field on The Great Lawn after they were unable to reply to an early goal, dropping their record on the season down to 1-4-1.

“I thought, to be fair, we were a little bit flat tonight,” said Head Coach Robert McCourt. “We’ve got so many new guys in the group that I feel like right now they’re a little bit concerned about playing not to lose instead of playing to win, and that’s the difference in the mentality of a winning group.”

Freshman goalkeeper Sean Murray was tested early on with a shot from close range, but he was able to make his first of four saves to keep it out.

Columbia scored the match’s lone goal just past the ten-minute mark. Senior forward Dylan Mott received a pass with his back to goal, turned on the defender, and fired past Murray to put the visitors in front.

The Ivy-Leaguers continued to put on the pressure as they searched for a second goal. Senior forward Kynan Rocks had a shot blocked in the box and then sophomore midfielder Avi Eller hit the crossbar from point-blank range.

With less than five minutes to go in the first half, Monmouth came inches away from equalizing. Sophomore midfielder Chris Scheuerman launched a curling effort from outside of the box with his right foot that looked like it was going to fly into the top right corner. The shot was tipped over the bar by senior goalkeeper Dylan Castanheira in what was his only save of the match.

Columbia came close to scoring again when Eller’s looping header rattled off of the far post and bounced back across the goal line before being cleared just moments before halftime.

In the 53rd minute, Monmouth missed out on their best chance of the match to level the score. A pinpoint cross was driven into the box from the right wing that found freshman forward Alex Hajj all alone at the back post, but the attacker’s first-time effort flew over the crossbar from close range.

Chances were hard to come by as the second half wore on, and after ninety minutes Columbia’s lone goal was enough to earn them the three points and bump their record up to 3-1-1.

Monmouth has now been shut out on four occasions this season, scoring a total of just three goals over six games.

“All of our guys in the attacking positions are relatively new guys, so I think they’re still adjusting to the pace of college soccer,” McCourt said. “And when they do get moments, they’re a little bit nervy in those positions. So little tap-ins or passes in the corner maybe become a shot that’s whacked off over the bar.”

The Hawks were only able to put one of their attempts on frame, while Columbia found the target five times.

Senior defender and Captain Zach Pereira said that despite the team’s record, they are playing well together. “We just gotta move on from it. The next game is the most important game,” he said. “We’re just gonna stay positive and come flying into the conference.”

McCourt said, “We’re going through some growing pains. It’s a really, really good group of kids.”

He believes that the squad is currently going through a period of transition. “They’re working really hard. There’s just so much newness in the group right now that I just think we have to continue to stay together and try to hit our stride come conference time.”

The Hawks are next in action on Wednesday, Sept. 26th, where they will open up play in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) against Manhattan at Hesse Field on The Great Lawn.

Monmouth fell to Manhattan in their last meeting on Oct. 17, 2017. A goal in double overtime from then-junior midfielder Ryan Shields won the game for the Jaspers.

Kickoff for Wednesday’s match is set for 7:00 p.m. and it will be broadcasted live on ESPN3.

PHOTO COURTESY of Mark Brown Photos