WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. – Sophomore Brandon McCarthy (Ludlow, Mass./South Kent) scored his first career goal in the 13th minute and the Hawks’ defense did the rest as the Monmouth University men’s soccer team shut out Manhattan, 1-0, Wednesday night at Hesse Field on The Great Lawn. With the win, the Hawks improve to 6-2-2 (2-0-1 MAAC), while the Jaspers fall to 1-6-1 (0-2-0 MAAC).
The shutout was the third consecutive and sixth of the year for sophomore goalkeeper Eric Klenofsky (Lincoln Park, N.J./DePaul Catholic) and the Hawks’ defense. Klenofsky made three saves in the clean sheet, including a pair of brilliant stops to thwart a Manhattan flurry early in the second half.
“Eric made some fantastic saves tonight in the second half,” said Monmouth Head Coach Robert McCourt. “I think anybody in the MAAC can beat anybody on any given day. So we were the better team in the first half. They probably had the more possession and more opportunities in the second half. Brandon’s goal was the difference on the night and I’ve got to be proud of my guys. We’re digging deep, we’re playing guys who haven’t played as much in the past and they’re stepping up and helping us get the job done. So that’s all you could ask for as a coach.”
The Hawks wasted little time getting on the board with McCarthy’s marker in the 13th minute. Miguel Alves (Newark, N.J./St. Benedict’s Prep) played the ball to McCarthy at the edge of the top, right corner of the 18-yard box where the sophomore unleashed a rocket underneath the crossbar for the game-winning goal.
“Our team was passing the ball well,” said McCarthy. “I got a ball at the top of the box. I turned, I saw the opening and I just took it. I think it was a team effort today. It wasn’t just me. It was the team.”
“Brandon scores those types of goals all the time in practice,” said McCourt. “So we were waiting for that moment. The guys kind of bust him a little bit about when he’s going to hit one of those in a game. To be fair to him, he got his first 90 minutes in tonight and he hit it. So I’ve got to give him credit.”
The Hawks kept the pressure on for the remainder of the first half, taking a 9-4 edge in shots and a 6-0 advantage in corners. But the score remained 1-0 after 45 minutes.
In the second half, Manhattan came out with energy and created several chance in a row. Eugene Heerschap got free in the box in the 50th minute, but Klenofsky came out to punch the ball wide for a corner. All told, the Jaspers got three corners on the trip into their attacking third, with the most dangerous opportunity being an Alex Shackley header in the 51st minute that was destined for the back of the net before Klenofsky pushed it over the crossbar at the last possible second.
The Hawks developed another chance for McCarthy in the 60th minute, but his shot from 15 yards straight on sailed high. Derek Luke (Bridgewater, N.J./Bridgewater-Raritan) also got a shot on goal in the 70th minute, but Manhattan goalkeeper Alex Coates McDowall stopped the shot at the near post.
The Hawks return to action Saturday when they play host to Fairfield. Kickoff from Hesse Field on The Great Lawn is scheduled for 7 p.m.