Sophomore Jalil Blalock Shines as Men’s Soccer Beats Fairfield, 2-0

MS Jalil Blalock FairfieldAfter a three match away stint consisting of a win and two losses, Monmouth men’s soccer returned to Hesse Field on the Great Lawn with a 2-0 win over Fairfield last Wednesday night.

“I’m really proud of the guys’ effort tonight. They showed a lot of character and who they are,” said Monmouth Head Coach Robert McCourt.

In the 25th minute, sophomore midfielder Jalil Blalock scored what would prove to be the game winning goal. Blalock, approaching the penalty area from the left side, used his left foot to shoot across his body. His shot precisely hit the far post and found its way into the back of the net to give the Hawks a 1-0 lead.

It was early on in the second half that Monmouth doubled their advantage through freshman defender Michael Luke. The assist came from Blalock as he laid the ball off to Luke just outside of the top right corner of the box. In what appeared to be a cross attempt, Luke bent the ball into the top of the far corner of the net from an impossible angle, making it 2-0 in stunning fashion.

Fairfield did their best to get back in the game, particularly within the last ten minutes of the match where they saw four shots fly wide of goal and three shots saved by senior captain goalkeeper Eric Klenofsky.

In all, Fairfield had nine more shots than Monmouth at nineteen and four more of them on target with eight. However, the Hawks defense was able to keep them quiet and earn their fourth clean sheet of the season.

With the loss, Fairfield saw themselves fall to 5-6-2 on the season and 3-3-0 in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC).

“Fairfield is a good team, so it’s a big win in the conference,” said McCourt. “It’s hard to single out any specific guys because I thought it was a great team effort across the board.”

Monmouth men’s soccer returned to Hesse Field on The Great Lawn on Saturday night, but they were unable to string together another win as they fell to Canisius, 2-1.

It took just two minutes for the visitors to set the tone for the match and go in front. Canisius opted to play their corner kick short to sophomore midfielder Melvin Blair, who sent in a cross to junior midfielder Mo Kretschmer at the far post. Kretschmer slotted the ball across goal into the bottom corner of the net, giving Canisius a 1-0 lead.

The hosts, however, finally found an equalizer early on in the second half. Sophomore defender Zachary Pereira saw his shot in the box saved by redshirt junior goalkeeper Marco Trivellato. The shot was parried only as far as sophomore defender Daniel Figarella, who rushed onto the loose ball and prodded it home to tie things up.

The game’s 1-1 score line did not last too long, though. Blair added his second goal of the season to his assist from the first half when he struck a shot from the top of the box that found the back of the net in off the left post to put the visitors back in front.

Despite Monmouth trying to fight back for another equalizer, Canisius still edged them in shots, 8-4, in the second half. The Hawks failed to create many goal scoring chances, but they did come close when freshman midfielder Geoffrey Schaefer hit the post in the 67th minute.

Canisius came away with the win, improving to 7-7-1 on the season and 3-3-1 in the MAAC. Monmouth’s loss saw them drop to 5-8-2 on the year and 4-4-0 in the MAAC.

“It’s difficult to lose a conference game at home, but I thought Canisius did a good job of taking advantage of some opportunities,” said McCourt after the loss.

The Hawks are back in action today, where they will be taking on rivals Iona in New Rochelle, NY at 2 p.m.

PHOTO COURTESY of Mark Brown/B51 Photography