RIVERDALE, N.Y. – Freshman goalkeeper Eric Klenofsky (Lincoln Park, N.J./DePaul Catholic) made four saves en route to his fifth-straight clean sheet as the Monmouth University men’s soccer team played Manhattan to a scoreless tie, Wednesday night at Gaelic Park. With the tie, Monmouth clinched a berth in the 2013 MAAC Championships, to be played Nov. 15-17 at Fairfield University’s Lessing Field. The tie snaps the Hawks’ (7-5-4 [6-0-2 MAAC]) six-game winning streak, but pushes their unbeaten streak to eight games. Manhattan moves to 3-9-2 (3-2-2 MAAC).
The clean sheet was Klenofsky’s sixth in the last seven games, all in MAAC play. His counterpart, Manhattan’s Alex Coates-McDowall, made five saves in earning the shutout. For the game, the Hawks outshot the Jaspers, 21-9, and took an 8-6 edge in corner kicks.
In the first half, the Hawks took a 9-4 edge in shots, including some dangerous opportunities late in the period. In the early going, Klenofsky was forced to make a pair of saves in the ninth and 12th minutes. Klenofsky dove to poke Dominic Chavez’s shot over the crossbar at 8:53, before knocking down a Dan Laguna Kennedy shot at 11:53 with one of his backs clearing the rebound.
The Hawks put their first shot on net at 15:10 when Derek Luke (Bridgewater, N.J./Bridgewater-Raritan) hit a free kick from 35 yards out on target, but Coates-McDowall was there for the save. Later in the half, Francois “Paco” Navarro (Paris, France) got behind the Jaspers’ defense to create a one-on-one opportunity from the top, left corner of the 18-yard box with Coates-McDowall. But the charging goalkeeper forced a shot that went just wide of the far post at 35:25. Just over a minute later, Coates-McDowall made the save on a Dave Nigro (Marlboro, N.J./Marlboro) header in front off a set piece.
Manhattan got a good look at the goal in the 40th minute, with Chavez firing just over the crossbar from 20 yards out. The Hawks managed three tremendous scoring chances in the final two minutes. Coates-McDowall stopped a Navarro free kick before the rebound was pushed aside at 43:03. The Hawks sent the ball back into the box, where Jacob Rubinstein (Ocean Township, N.J./Ocean) tried to go upper 90. But Coates-McDowall went all out on a dive to make the save, crashing into the right post in the process.
In the second half, Manhattan’s Tommy Amos sent a shot on net in the 59th minute that Klenofsky went low on to save. The rebound found Laguna Kennedy’s feet and the freshman beat Klenofsky, but not Luke, who was positioned on the goal line inside the right post to clear the shot. Laguna Kennedy also got a shot off in the 65th minute that Klenofsky made the save on.
Joseph Schmid (Kingston, Pa./Wyoming Valley West) put a shot on net off a set piece in the 67th minute, but Coates-McDowall made the save. Later, Luke’s shot off a free kick just to the outside of the right side of the box sailed high and wide in the 70th minute. The Hawks were awarded two corner kicks in the 73rd minute, but couldn’t put a shot on net. Colin Stripling (Scotch Plains, N.J./Scotch Plains-Fanwood) fired a shot that sailed high in the 74th minute.
Monmouth controlled the chances in the first overtime, creating four opportunities. Rubinstein got a head on a corner in the 93rd minute, but it went high and wide. In the 94th minute, Nigro’s header also went high, while Emmanuel Senyah Agyemang (Kumasi, Ghana/KNUST University) got a head on a set piece, but it sailed wide in the 97th minute. Likewise, Matt Jeffery’s (Freehold, N.J./Freehold Township) header off a corner in the 99th minute went wide.
In the second overtime, Rubinstein’s header off a set piece sailed high in the 102nd minute. Neither team could create another quality chance until the final minute. Rubinstein controlled the ball behind the defense with less than 20 seconds remaining, but offside was whistled before the shot was fired. Manhattan streaked downfield, but Jake Scavetta’s off-balanced shot from a tough angle was blocked down by a Monmouth back to end the match.
The Hawks return to MAAC action Saturday, when they play host to Niagara. Prior to the 7 p.m. kickoff from The Great Lawn, the Hawks will honor their three-member senior class as part of Senior Day.