WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. – Senior forward Dom Sarle (Huntington, N.Y./Bradenton Prep) and freshman midfielder Andrew Gee (Cranford, N.J./Cranford) each scored a goal and added an assist as the fourth-seeded Monmouth University men’s soccer team cruised past No. 5 Siena, 3-0, in the MAAC Championship Quarterfinals Saturday afternoon at Hesse Field on The Great Lawn. With the win, the Hawks (9-3-6) advance to the MAAC Championship Semifinals, Friday at Quinnipiac University. Should No. 3 Rider defeat No. 6 Fairfield in the other MAAC Quarterfinal tonight at 7 p.m., the Hawks would face the host Bobcats. If the Stags defeat the Broncs, Monmouth would face No. 2 Iona.
“I’m just happy for all the guys on the team,” said Monmouth Head Coach Robert McCourt. “We’ve had to deal with some adversity this year and they never strayed. They never became bad chemistry guys in the locker room. The locker room was always very positive, no matter what happened with the injuries. I really think that they deserve this. We’re really excited about going into the tournament and they’ve earned every step of the way.”
Sophomore goalkeeper Eric Klenofsky (Lincoln Park, N.J./DePaul Catholic) tied his career high with seven saves in the Monmouth defense’s 12th clean sheet of the season. The Hawks, who have allowed just seven goals this season, including only two to conference foes, have not allowed a goal on Hesse Field in the last 687 minutes of game action.
The Hawks broke through with the first goal of the game in the 29th minute as Gee played the ball wide to Sarle on the right sideline and the senior sent a beautiful cross into the box. Miguel Alves (Newark, N.J./St. Benedict’s Prep) headed it past Siena goalkeeper Josh Weiss for what proved to be the game-winning goal.
Just over 11 minutes later, a similar play unfolded on the opposite side of the field. Derek Luke (Bridgewater, N.J./Bridgewater-Raritan) sent a cross in front to Gee, who headed it in from close range.
The Hawks kept the pressure on in the second half and Sarle put the game away with a goal at the 67-minute mark. In another similarly-developed goal, Brandon McCarthy (Ludlow, Mass./South Kent) played Bryant Avalos (Brick, N.J./Monsignor Donovan) wide toward the left sideline before Avalos sent a cross in front to Sarle. From close range, Sarle put it past Weiss on one touch to stake Monmouth to a 3-0 advantage.
For the game, Siena took a 13-9 edge in shots, while the Hawks took a 6-3 advantage in corner kicks.