Published: October 19, 2016
WEST LONG BRANCH, NJ – Sophomore forward Jalil Blalock (Elizabeth, NJ/Elizabeth) scored the game-winning goal in the 25th minute and added an assist on freshman Michael Luke’s (Martinsville, NJ/Bridgewater-Raritan) goal in the 49th minute as the Monmouth University men’s soccer team blanked Fairfield, 2-0, Wednesday night at Hesse Field on The Great Lawn. With the win, the Hawks improve to 5-7-2 (4-3-0 MAAC), while the Stags slip to 5-6-2 (3-3-0 MAAC).
Blalock got the scoring started when senior forward David Nigro (Marlboro, NJ/Marlboro) dispossessed the Stags in the midfield and passed ahead to Blalock on the left. The sophomore then struck with his left foot past a streaking Fairfield back, banking it off the right post and in. Early in the second half, Luke played a short corner to Blalock, who gave it right back to the freshman. Luke then curled what at first appeared to be a cross toward the mouth of goal but carried into the left upper 90 for the insurance.
The two goals were more than enough for Monmouth senior goalkeeper Eric Klenofsky (Lincoln Park, NJ/DePaul Catholic) and the Hawks’ defense. Klenofsky made a season-high eight saves for the Hawks’ fourth clean sheet of the year.
QUOTES & NOTES
“I’m really proud of the guys’ effort tonight. They showed a lot of character and who they are. Fairfield is a good team, so it’s a big win in the conference. It’s hard to single out any specific guys because I thought it was a great team effort across the board.” – Monmouth Head Coach Robert McCourt
- The goals were the second of the year for both Blalock and Luke. Blalock has now scored four times in his career. The assist was the first of Blalock’s collegiate career.
- Nigro’s assist give him a team-leading five this season, while pushing his team-leading point total to 15.
- The clean sheet was the fourth of the season for the Hawks, the third of the year for Klenofsky and 31st of his career.
- Over the past four years, Monmouth is 35-10-15 in games started by Klenofsky and 2-10-2 when someone else starts in goal.
- Klenofsky earned the 35th victory of his career, moving to within three of the MAAC’s all-time record of 38 wins, held by Nils Binstock of Iona.
- Monmouth took a 5-0-4 lead in the all-time series with Fairfield.
- Monmouth is now 5-1-1 this season when scoring first.
- The Hawks played nearly 14 minutes down a man to conclude the contest after Nigro was sent off with a straight red card for an action away from the ball.
CRUNCHING THE NUMBERS
- Fairfield outshot Monmouth, 19-10, including an 8-4 edge in shots on goal.
- The Stags also took a 6-2 advantage in corner kicks.
- Klenofsky made a season-high eight saves, one off of his career-high of nine (Nov. 9, 2015 vs. Rider)
- Fairfield’s Joe Martin made two saves in defeat.
- Monmouth was whistled for 10 fouls and a pair of cards. Fairfield was called for six fouls and was not cautioned.
The Hawks return to MAAC play Saturday, when they play host to Canisius. Kickoff from Hesse Field on The Great Lawn is slated for 7 p.m. on ESPN3.