LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL – Senior back David Acuña Camacho (Heredia, Costa Rica/Costa Rica YNT) scored the game-winning goal off a free kick in the 87th minute as the top-seeded Monmouth University men’s soccer team defeated No. 9 Manhattan, 2-1, in the MAAC Championship Quarterfinals Friday afternoon at ESPN Wide World of Sports. With the win, the Hawks (12-3-4) advance to face fifth-seeded Iona, which defeated fourth-seeded Fairfield, 1-0. The semifinal contest will be played Sunday at 11 a.m. on ESPN3. The win pushes the Hawks’ unbeaten streak to 16 games, the longest streak in the nation.
After possessing the ball for the majority of the first eight minutes of play, the Hawks struck first in the ninth minute. Colin Stripling (Scotch Plains, NJ/Scotch Plains Fanwood) made a run into the box and Miguel Alves (Newark, NJ/St. Benedict’s) curled what initially appeared to be a cross over Stripling’s head inside the right post for the score.
Manhattan took an 8-6 edge in shots in the first half, but the Hawks took a 5-3 advantage in shots on goal. Eric Klenofsky (Lincoln Park, NJ/DePaul Catholic) made three saves, while Manhattan’s RJ Noll made four in the initial stanza.
The Jaspers evened the game in the 47th minute, when Abraham Bartoah got into the box and put a shot on Klenofsky. The Hawks goalkeeper made the initial save, but Ajani Phillips shot the rebound on one touch underneath the crossbar for the equalizer.
Monmouth threatened in the 67th minute when Andrew Gee (Cranford, NJ/Cranford) got on the end of Derek Luke’s (Bridgewater, NJ/Bridgewater-Raritan) service into the box, but his header went just wide of the left post. Manhattan countered in the 72nd minute, with Bartoah getting into the box, but Klenofsky went right to make a diving save.
The Hawks appeared to have taken the lead in the 75th minute, when Dan Pizzimenti (Manalapan, NJ/Christian Brothers Academy) headed in Luke’s service into the box. But he was ruled to be offside, nullifying the goal. But in the 87th minute, Danny Figarella (Wappingers Falls, NY/John Jay) was taken down just outside the top of the 18-yard box for a free kick that Acuña Camacho went low inside the right post on for the game winner. The Hawks nearly made it a two-goal game when Stripling put a shot just high over the crossbar from the midfield stripe just 20 seconds later.
For the game, Manhattan took a Monmouth 13-11 edge in shots, but Monmouth took an 8-7 advantage in shots on goal. Both goalkeepers made six saves, while Manhattan took a 3-2 edge in corner kicks.