WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. – Monmouth senior midfielder Max Hamilton (Medford, N.J./Shawnee) headed in the game-winning goal in the 88th minute as the Hawks defeated St. Francis (N.Y.), 1-0, in a Northeast Conference match Sunday afternoon on The Great Lawn. The Hawks (11-4-0, 5-2-0 NEC), who entered the weekend tied for fourth in the NEC with Quinnipiac and St. Francis (N.Y.) among others, defeated both the Bobcats and Terriers this weekend to earn six points and move into a first-place tie with Central Connecticut (8-7-0, 5-2-0 NEC). The Blue Devils lost at Sacred Heart, 2-0, on Sunday. The Terriers fall to 8-4-2 (3-2-1 NEC) with today’s loss.
“We put a cross in. The goalie came out, but (Anthony Vazquez) got a tip on it. It was just sitting in the air, and I crashed on it and put it back stick,” said Hamilton. “Every game here on out is our own destination, our own fate, so we’ve got to come out and win every single game. Taking six points, away or home, it doesn’t matter. We’ve got to take it, and that’s what we did.”
Following several near misses on scoring opportunities by the Hawks in the second half, sophomore Joseph Schmid (Kingston, Pa./Wyoming Valley [Villanova]) lined up a free kick along the sideline, 40 yards away from the net in the 88th minute. The free kick found Anthony Vazquez (Belford, N.J./Middletown North [St. John’s]) at the right post. Vazquez headed the ball back into the goal mouth to Hamilton, who headed it in for the game winner.
“I thought the guys showed a lot of character today against a very good team,” said Head Coach Robert McCourt. “I was particularly proud of Max for getting the goal. He’s been the heart and soul of the team all season.”
Monmouth goalkeeper Alex Blackburn (Natick, Mass./Natick) made one save and the Hawks’ defense made another save to post their 10th shutout of the season. Prior to two shutout victories this weekend, the Hawks ranked fifth in the nation in shutout percentage. With the pair of clean sheets, the Hawks moved their mark to .667.
The Terriers’ best chance came in the 13th minute, when Gabriel Bagot headed the ball on net past Blackburn. But freshman Matt Jeffery (Freehold, N.J./Freehold Township) cleared it off the goal line to preserve a scoreless tie.
For the game, the Hawks outshot the Terriers, 17-7, including a 14-3 advantage in the second half. Monmouth edged St. Francis in corner kicks, 4-3.
The Hawks return to action Friday, when they travel to Robert Morris. Kickoff from the North Athletic Complex is scheduled for 3 p.m.