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Sports

Men’s Soccer Teams’ Offense Comes Alive

MensSoccerAfter going 1-3 in their previous four games and scoring only two goals, the Hawks have finally started to click on offense. Tallying eight goals in the last three games, MU finds itself at 8-3-2 and in the hunt for the Northeast Conference title with five games to play.

On Friday, October 5, the Hawks hosted rival Fairleigh Dickinson. Controlling the tempo for much of the game, MU out shot the Knights 9-5 in regulation. Although failing to score, Monmouth settled for a 0-0 tie after two overtimes.

“The FDU games every year are very tight, it’s two different styles of teams,” said Coach McCourt. “We go out and attack and we try to make the game, and they go out and defend and try to catch you on the break.”

Fairleigh Dickinson came out strong in overtime, getting off six shots in the first overtime period while Monmouth had zero shots, giving goalkeeper Alex Blackburn some work.

“Obviously when you let teams hang around like we did, eventually they’re going to start making opportunities, and that’s exactly what they did,” said Blackburn. “I wouldn’t say that I had anything that was like, looking back on it, I really needed to make that save. I just made the saves that I was supposed to make.”

Despite the tie, Monmouth earned one point in the standings and were able to put the game behind them, looking to Sunday, October 7, when they hosted Bryant at 1 pm.

After a scoreless first half, the second half saw four goals in back and forth action. Bryant took the lead in the 53rd minute after a shot went under Blackburn’s hands into the back of the net.

“We were playing this team off the field and then all of a sudden we’re behind a goal,” said Blackburn. “You take the ball out of the back of the net and you get your team going.”

Just under 12 minutes later, midfielder Andres Penfold tied the game 1-1. One and a half minutes after that, Bryant was back on top 2-1 after a Kyle Jester header got past Blackburn.

Hawks midfielder Tomas Penfold tied the game at 2 with a header in the 88th minute for his first goal of the season sending the Hawks to their second straight overtime match. This time, they got the golden goal in the second period of overtime when midfielder Joseph Schmid netted his second goal of the season from just beyond the 18 yard goalie box.

“There was a ball played into the box and their defender headed it offbalance so I knew he wasn’t going to get a lot of power on it, and it just fell to me and I scored,” said Schmid. “I thought it was a really good response that we had. This year so far when we’ve given up goals there really hasn’t been a great response, so to see the Penfold brothers step up like that, it was big.”

“I hope that game is a little bit of a momentum shift for us,” said Coach McCourt. “We scored three goals and the pressure was on us that we weren’t scoring goals in a couple games. I thought the guys showed unbelievable character.”

Taking that momentum into a makeup game at Quinnipiac on Thursday, October 11, the Blue and White took control early and never looked back. Midfielder Francois “Paco” Navarro scored twice and senior Alex Weidman added a goal to lead the Hawks to a 3-0 victory. “We did some work on offense in the past couple training sessions,” said Coach McCourt. “We worked on positioning and timing and getting committed numbers in the box and getting in good positions to score goals.”

Talking about playing with the lead, Blackburn remarked, “The toughest thing to do is to go up two goals at halftime. Notoriously we just kind of let our foot off the gas and sometimes let teams back in it. But in this situation we really stuck with it and made sure that we finished the job.”

Back on the pitch Sunday, October 14, the Hawks traveled to Mount St. Mary’s. Joseph Schmid found the back of the net in the 34th minute to give Monmouth a 1-0 advantage. That lead was short lived as Mount St. Mary’s scored less than two minutes later. In the 50th minute, captain Ryan Clark put away the game winner from just outside the 18 yard box as MU went on to win 2-1. The win marked the Hawks third straight victory.

“All the (remaining) games are important; one game is not more important than the other,” said Coach McCourt. “We only look at the next game.”

“I’m very confident in this group of guys. This could be the most talented group from top to bottom that we’ve had, so we don’t change what we do.”

MU returns to action Friday, October 19, when they take on Robert Morris at 7 pm on the Great Lawn.

PHOTOT COURTESY of MU Photography

Contact Information

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The Outlook
Jules L. Plangere Jr. Center for Communication
and Instructional Technology (CCIT)
Room 260, 2nd floor

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Monmouth University
400 Cedar Ave, West Long Branch, New Jersey
07764

Phone: (732) 571-3481 | Fax: (732) 263-5151
Email: outlook@monmouth.edu