JERSEY CITY, N.J. – Sophomore forward Dave Nigro (Marlboro, N.J./Marlboro) scored a goal and added an assist as the Monmouth University men’s soccer team defeated hOURglass rival Saint Peter’s, 2-0, Wednesday afternoon on Jaroschak Field to clinch a berth in Saturday’s MAAC Championship Quarterfinals. Fellow sophomore Brandon McCarthy (Ludlow, Mass./South Kent) scored the game-winning goal, his second goal in as many games, as the Hawks improved to 8-3-6 (4-1-5 MAAC). Saint Peter’s finished its season at 4-14-0 (2-8-0 MAAC).
The Hawks now await the results of tonight’s remaining 7 p.m. MAAC contests – Quinnipiac at Fairfield and Iona at Manhattan – to determine their seeding in the MAAC Championships. Monmouth will be seeded between Nos. 3-5, meaning a quarterfinal match-up on Saturday. Should they take the No. 3 or 4 seeding, the Hawks would host the game.
With the clean sheet, the Hawks’ 11th of the season, Monmouth closes the regular season having allowed just two goals in MAAC play. The two goals are the fewest by a MAAC squad in at least the last 10 years, the furthest back full conference statistics are available. Monmouth also now ranks first in the nation in goals-against average (0.38) and save percentage (.900), as does sophomore goalkeeper Eric Klenofsky with a 0.38 goals against average and an .897 save percentage.
“It was a convincing performance today at a very difficult place to play,” said Monmouth Head Coach Robert McCourt. “This group has so much character. Having had so many injuries has forced new guys to step in and get the job done. We are excited to get the tourney started.”
Klenofsky made four saves in the clean sheet, while Dom Sarle (Huntington, N.Y./Bradenton Prep) cleared a ball off the goal line to account for Monmouth’s fifth save of the game. Klenofsky’s counterpart, David Giddings, made one save in defeat. For the game, Saint Peter’s took an 11-5 edge in shots and a 3-1 advantage in corner kicks.
In the 14th minute, Nigro played the ball ahead to McCarthy into the top right corner of the 18-yard box. McCarthy didn’t waste any time, sending a rocket underneath the crossbar past Giddings for the game-winning goal.
In the 27th minute, Miguel Alves (Newark, N.J./St. Benedict’s Prep) played Nigro into the top left corner of the 18-yard box. Giddings charged after the ball in an attempt to cut off Nigro’s angle at the net, but the sophomore lofted a soft shot over Giddings over the goal line to give Monmouth a 2-0 lead.
Klenofsky was tested early and late with his first two saves coming in the first 10 minutes and his last two coming in the 90th minute. But the sophomore was equal to the task each time.