Last updateWed, 23 Sep 2020 2pm


Men’s Soccer Improves to 6-0-1 in MAAC

The men's soccer team continued their hot streak this past week as they beat the Saint Peter's Peacocks and Quinnipiac Bobcats on Wednesday, Oct 23 and Saturday, Oct 26.

MU was able to overcome the tough weather elements posed during Wednesday's match when they beat Saint Peters 2-0 on The Great Lawn. Sophomore midfielder, Tomas Penfold, scored his second goal of the season for the Hawks and added an assist, also his second of the year.

"The guys are feeling really good about themselves right now," said head coach Robert McCourt. "In the beginning of the year, we were struggling to get some results, and they didn't have a lot of confidence. Now their confidence is changing and it's great."

As the game started, both teams were aggressive and each saw scoring opportunities within the first 15 minutes. Both goal keepers were up to the early challenge, each recording two saves, and neither team was able to find the back of the net.

The rest of the first half saw MU take control and gain advantage in time of possession. With 15 minutes left in the first half, the blue and white began to put the pressure on as they generated several scoring chances. Senior forward, Francois "Paco" Navarro, began the barrage by firing a shot that rang off the left post. MU quickly got the ball back, and less than a minute later, sophomore midfielder, David Acuna Camacho, let loose a shot that sailed just over the crossbar.

Shortly after Camacho's blast, Penfold unleashed a shot from 20 yards out that found its way through the Saint Peter's defenders, but the Peacock's goalie was there to make the save.

MU broke the scoreless tie with less than a minute remaining in the half. Penfold created the opportunity when he took the ball at midfield and played it ahead to senior forward Jacob Rubinstein. The Peacock keeper came out from the net to try and meet Rubinstein, but he was unable to as the senior put the ball in the open net to give the Hawks a 1-0 lead heading into half.

"I knew I had space to turn because all game they were giving us a lot of time," said Penfold. "Jacob (Rubinstein) has a whole lot of speed so I just played it to him, and it was a great finish by him."

The beginning of the second half played out very similar to the first as both teams saw scoring chances, but couldn't finish.

In the 75th minute, MU found the back of the net again as junior midfielder, Derek Luke, gave a lead pass to Penfold just outside the box. Penfold managed put a shot over the advancing keeper's head to expand the Hawks lead to 2-0.

St. Peter's never threatened for the remainder of the game, and MU came away with the decisive victory.

The Hawks then took on Quinnipiac three days later in a tight knit contest. Rubinstein scored again for the Hawks, his fourth goal in the last five games, as MU handed the Bobcats their first conference loss of the year.

"I thought the guys played really well," said McCourt. "When we had to defend we defended well and when we went on the break we had some really good opportunities to score goals, so I was happy with their performance."

The start of the game did not see much action as the first real scoring chance came in the 15th minute of play when the Bobcat's Raphael Carvalho took a shot from several yards outside the box. Carvalho was able to get the ball on net, but MU's freshman goal keeper, Eric Klenofsky, made the stop and kept the game scoreless.

MU made its first real scoring threat in the 29th minute of the game when Navarro received a pass at the top of the box. Navarro advanced on goal, but was tripped by the Bobcat keeper. No foul was called and the game stayed tied at 0-0, which it would remain for the rest of the half.

Neither team generated much offense to begin the second half, but the physicality of the game began to increase. In the 59th minute, MU was able to break the tie and score what would be the game winning goal.

After a corner-kick taken by MU, senior midfielder Joseph Schmid sent a ball down the right side of the field to Navarro, who then sent a pass through the box. Rubinstein found himself on the receiving end and touched it past the Bobcat keeper.

Quinnipiac did not fold after the goal, however, and kept the pressure on the MU defense for the rest of the game. Their best chance to tie the game came with under five minutes remaining when a QU player sent a cross through the blue and white's box. Ola Ogunjobi then headed, and re-directed the ball towards the MU net, but the ball went just inches right of the post.

MU was able to keep Quinnipiac from having any more chances, and the game came to an end with the Hawks finishing on top.

The shutout marked Klenofsky's fourth straight shutout, and his fifth in the last six games. With the win, the Hawks moved their overall record to 7-5-3, and improved their conference record to 6-0-1. The team is currently at the top of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) standings and holds a six-point lead over any other team. The Hawks are also ranked second in the most recent National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) North Atlantic Regional Ranking. This is the highest MU has been ranked the entire season.

"We've made a real conscious effort of not making errors," said McCourt. "In the beginning of the year we were killing ourselves with defensive errors. We've really eliminated that, and started finishing our chances on the other end. So that's been a big part of our success in the conference."

With three games remaining in the regular season, MU is looking to finish league play just as strong as they started in hopes of claiming the first overall seed in the upcoming MAAC Championships.

This final push will begin Wednesday, Oct. 30 when the Hawks travel to Riverdale, New York to take on the Manhattan Jaspers. Kickoff is set for 7 pm.

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Phone: (732) 571-3481 | Fax: (732) 263-5151