WEST LONG BRANCH, NJ – Colin Stripling (Scotch Plains, NJ/Scotch Plains-Fanwood) scored his first goal of the season, but the Monmouth University men’s soccer team fell in its home opener, 3-1, to the University of Hartford Friday night at Hesse Field on The Great Lawn. With the loss, Monmouth falls to 0-3-0, while Hartford is now 1-0-2.
Hartford got on the board 49 seconds into regulation on a strong individual effort from Javoni Simms. Simms dribbled the ball through traffic to the top of the 18-yard box before rifling a shot inside the right post past a diving Eric Klenofsky (Lincoln Park, NJ/DePaul Catholic).
Hartford added to the lead in the 18th minute when Klenofsky dove to stop Mikkel Song’s shot, resulting in a Brian Richards header into the net off the rebound.
Monmouth cut the deficit in half on Stripling’s first goal of the year in the 30th minute. David Acuna Camacho (Heredia, Costa Rica/Costa Rica YNT) bent a corner to the far post where, following a deflection off a Hartford back, Stripling fired a shot underneath the crossbar to beat Hartford goalkeeper David MacKinnon.
But Hartford again had the answer in the 38th minute, again on a Richards header. Andri Jonasson sent a cross from the left corner in front of the net that Richards headed in to account for the final 3-1 margin.
Monmouth developed chances in the second half, but couldn’t find the back of the net. Stripling nearly had a second goal off another Camacho corner in the 67th minute, but his shot was cleared off the line by a Hartford back. Dave Nigro (Marlboro, NJ/Marlboro) also got a good look at the goal in the 75th minute, but his attempt sailed wide.
Monmouth returns to action Sunday, when it plays host to Howard. Kickoff from Hesse Field is slated for 7 p.m.