NIAGARA UNIVERSITY, N.Y. – Eric Klenofsky (Lincoln Park, N.J./DePaul Catholic) made four saves and the Hawks’ defense posted its fifth clean sheet of the season as the Monmouth University men’s soccer team earned a point in MAAC play with a scoreless tie at Niagara Saturday night. With the tie, the Hawks move to 5-2-2 (1-0-1 MAAC), while the Purple Eagles are now 3-6-2 (0-1-1 MAAC). The game featured a lightning delay, heavy rain and blustery wind conditions.
“Overall, I’m pleased with the effort,” said Monmouth Head Coach Robert McCourt. “For our first trip to Niagara, I though the guys responded well in some difficult playing conditions for both teams. I know the guys will be disappointed not getting three points, but with the weather conditions, I think coming away with a point is OK at this point in the season. Both teams had opportunities to put the game away. I thought our guys showed a lot of character sticking with the game plan and coming away with a point.”
Derek Luke (Bridgewater, N.J./Bridgewater-Raritan) had a strong all-around game for the Hawks, putting all three of his shots on target, while also streaking back to block a shot on a would-be one-on-one opportunity in the first overtime.
For the game, Monmouth outshot Niagara, 15-13, including a 5-4 edge in shots on goal. The Hawks also took 13 corner kicks without allowing a single corner opportunity to the Purple Eagles.
Dom Sarle (Huntington, N.Y./Bradenton Prep) had an open look at the net in the 67th minute, but his shot off the backside of his foot sailed wide of the left post. Just over three minutes later, Miguel Alves (Newark, N.J./St. Benedict’s Prep) sent a shot wide after the Hawks developed a quality scoring opportunity. Monmouth again threatened in the 89th minute as Dan Pizzimenti (Manalapan, N.J./Christian Brothers Academy) sent a header wide of the left post and Alves shot wide of the right post from atop the 18-yard box later in the minute.
Early in the first overtime period, Niagara looked to have gotten behind the Hawks’ defense for a one-on-one opportunity with Klenofsky. But as a Purple Eagle lined up a shot, Luke streaked back to block the opportunity.
In the 95th minute, Sarle flicked a shot on net from wide of the right post that was deflected by a Niagara defender off the near post. In the 96th minute, a cross got through the Monmouth defense to Julian Ekeze atop the 18-yard box. But Ekeze’s shot sailed high.
In the 103rd minute, Nicholas Watson slipped a shot past Klenofsky from inside the 18-yard box, but it went just wide of the right post. Niagara developed another opportunity a minute later, but Jacob Ohlin’s shot sailed well high. Luke had a solid chance in the 106th minute, but Casey was equal to the task, saving the shot.
The Hawks return to action Wednesday when they play host to Manhattan. Kickoff from Hesse Field on The Great Lawn is scheduled for 7 p.m.