Men's Soccer Gains First Win and MAAC Honors

MSOC 10.16.19Men’s soccer is coming off an impressive week against two conference rivals as they defeated Siena on the Great Lawn 2-1 on Wednesday for their first win of the season and tied with Rider 2-2 on the road on Saturday.

The Hawks earned their first win of the season against their conference rival Siena in a close game. Siena showcased strong offense right out of the gate as they recorded the first two shots on goal of the game which were both recorded in the first 16 minutes of the contest. Sophomore goalkeeper Sean Murray was able to make saves on both shots.

Monmouth scored their first goal of the game in the 40th minute off a header from freshman forward Ben Zakowski. This was Zakowski’s first goal of his career and assisting on the goal was junior midfielder Santo Arena and freshman defenseman Pablo Fonseca.

Zakowski scored two goals on the week which was a strong enough performance to earn him Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Rookie of the Week. Arena on the other hand finished the week with a team-leading five points which named him the MAAC Offensive Player of the Week.

Near the end of the first half Siena sent another shot that was on goal, but Murray was able to make a save to conserve the lead heading into halftime.

In the 53rd minute Murray made another brilliant save to keep the score right where it was. Shortly after Arena scored his first goal of the contest to increase their lead to 2-0. This two goal advantage stood until the 85th minute when Sienna scored their first goal of the contest to cut the lead in half. This however proved to be too little too late as Monmouth was able to hold them off to capture the win.

“We’ve got a lot of young guys and some new guys that are starting for us, and we haven’t been able to get over the hurdle,” said Head Coach Robert McCourt. “We finally got one tonight so it feels good. Hopefully we can build on this.”

The Blue and White then headed off to face Rider in another conference game. Rider scored the first goal of the game in the 16th minute and Monmouth started off down by one.

By the 25th minute Zakowski intercepted a pass and scored in the lower right corner to tie up the game at one heading into halftime.

Rider regained the lead in the 55th minute of the contest but that would not last for long. Arena scored by sending a shot that flew by the opposing goalkeeper’s hand in the 58th minute to tie up the game.

In the 62nd minute, Murray came up with a beautiful diving save off the corner kick. In the 85th minute Zakowski created another opportunity as he got a shot on goal, but it was ultimately saved by Rider’s goalkeeper. The game was not decided in 90 minutes, so it went into overtime.

Five minutes into the first overtime Arena was able to beat two defenders and sent a shot from 20 yards that went wide left. Both teams would get a shot on goal in the 2nd overtime but both shots were saved. A winner was not decided in overtime, so it ended in a tie.

“Our boys showed great character tonight. Rider is an older, experienced team with a very experienced coach,” said McCourt. “The game was scrappy at times, but we created some really good chances on goal. Tonight, was a valuable point on the road in the MAAC.”

In 28 career games, Murray has compiled 137 saves which is good for 4.9 saves per game. Zakowski and Arena are now tied with sophomore forward Sebastian Rodriguez with 2 goals on the season for the team lead.

After Saturday’s contest Monmouth now has a record of 1-8-2 while 1-2-1 in conference play.

Next up for the Hawks is a home matchup with conference rival Saint Peters on the Great Lawn on Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. followed by a road matchup against Fairfield at the same time.

PHOTO TAKEN by Karlee Sell