MONMOUTH WOMEN'S SOCCER FALLS 3-2 TO SAINT FRANCIS
First-place showdown goes to the Red Flash
WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. - In a late season battle between the top two teams in the Northeast Conference women's soccer standings, Monmouth fell to visiting Saint Francis University 3-2 on The Great Lawn on Sunday afternoon.
Saint Francis, the lone undefeated team in the NEC, improves to 11-4-2 and 8-0 in the league, while Monmouth falls to 9-6-2 and 6-2-1 in conference action.
"We have given up too many goals to allow us to win more games," stated head coach Krissy Turner. "We will work on our defending this week to prepare us to finish out our final regular season match next Sunday."
The Red Flash took a 1-0 lead in the 13th minute when Laura Stayrook played a ball wide to Barbara Maros de Carvalho, whose one-touch cross found an open Eloa Nascimento in the box for a one-timer to the far netting past sophomore goalkeeper Jocelyn McCoy (Crofton, Md./Archbishop Spalding).
Saint Francis increased its lead to 2-0 in the 20th minute when Alecia McNiff's long pass found SFU leading scorer Tesa McKibben for a shot from 30 yards away.
The Hawks, 3:06 later, trimmed the lead in half as senior Claudia Vazquez (Belford, N.J./Middletown North) pounded in junior Dana Costello's (Jackson, N.J./Jackson Memorial) corner kick service just under the cross bar over the outstretched hands of SFU goalkeeper Brianna Butcher.
Monmouth knotted the game at 2-2 in the 34th minute when sophomore Kim Clemmer (Jackson, N.J./Jackson Memorial) was taken down in the box and the Hawks were awarded a penalty kick, which sophomore Alexa Freguletti (Mahwah, N.J./Mahwah) converted on for her fourth tally of the year.
The match remained tied at 2-2 for 31 more minutes until SFU registered the game-winner in the 65th minute as Nascimento notched her second goal of the match. Ellie Gavin played a ball into the box off a corner kick, but Monmouth's clearance went directly to Nascimento, who scored for the sixth time in 2012.
Monmouth nearly tied the game with five seconds remaining as junior Monique Plescia's (Norwood, N.J./Northern Valley Regional-Old Tappan) attempt hit the cross bar and landed in front of the goal as time expired.
Monmouth held a 16-13 edge in shots, forcing Butcher to make two saves. McCoy made three stops for the Hawks.
Prior to the game, Monmouth honored its senior class of goalkeeper Ashley Lewis (Freehold, N.J./Freehold), Vazquez, forward Nicole Close (Baldwinsville, N.Y./Baldwinsville) and midfielder Jennie Vartebedian (Blackwood, N.J./Gloucester Catholic).
Monmouth returns to action on Sunday, October 28 when the Hawks travel to Mount St. Mary's for the regular season finale for both sides. Kick-off is set for noon.