WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. – Sophomore midfielder Tomas Penfold (Scarsdale, N.Y./Scarsdale) scored a goal and added an assist and freshman goalkeeper Eric Klenofsky (Lincoln Park, N.J./DePaul Catholic) made four saves to post his fourth shutout in the last five games as the Monmouth University men’s soccer team blanked Saint Peter’s, 2-0, Wednesday night on a rain-soaked Great Lawn. With the win, the Hawks improve to 6-5-3 (5-0-1 MAAC), while the Peacocks fall to 2-7-4 (0-3-2 MAAC).
“This was a big win,” said Monmouth sophomore midfielder David Acuna Camacho (Heredia, Costa Rica/Costa Rica Youth National Team). “We’ve been playing really well. At the beginning of the year, we were making silly mistakes in the back. Now we’re communicating. We put (Colin) Stripling next to me and we understand each other really well and work with each other.”
Both teams generated early scoring chances and each keeper had two saves within the first 11 minutes. Saint Peter’s keeper Carlos Suarez made a third save at 12:54 and pulled down a cross at 13:14, but collided with Francois “Paco” Navarro (Paris, France) on the play. He left the game due to injury and was replaced by David Giddings.
The Hawks kept the pressure on, with Navarro hitting the left post on a shot in the 29th minute and Camacho sailed a shot high in the 30th minute. Penfold also blasted a shot from 20 yards out in the 42nd minute that Giddings corralled.
For the second-straight home game, the Hawks struck with less than 30 seconds to play in the first half. Penfold played the ball from mid-field ahead to Jacob Rubinstein (Ocean Township, N.J./Ocean). The senior forward then beat both his defender and the oncoming goalkeeper to shoot on the open net. A Saint Peter’s back streaked to the goal to get a toe on the shot, but it wasn’t enough to push the shot wide, giving the Hawks a 1-0 lead with 16.4 seconds left in the half.
Both teams had opportunities early in the second half, but both goalies were equal to the task. A give-and-go between Edney Derrick (Kumasi, Ghana/KNUST University) and Penfold left the latter one-on-one with Giddings in the box. But the Saint Peter’s keeper got into position for the save in the 58th minute.
The Peacocks created a dangerous chance in the 75th minute, before the Hawks quickly transitioned to score in the same minute. Derek Luke (Bridgewater, N.J./Bridgewater-Raritan) played the ball from the midfield to Penfold near the top of the 18-yard box, leaving the sophomore one-on-one with Giddings. The Peacocks’ keeper came out to contest, but Penfold lofted a shot over him and into the net to put the Hawks on top, 2-0. The Hawks’ back line prevented a shot from going on target the rest of the way.
For the game, the Hawks outshot the Peacocks, 15-13, including a 7-4 edge in shots on target. Saint Peter’s took five corner kicks to the Hawks’ three. Giddings finished the game with two saves for the Peacocks.
The Hawks return to MAAC action Saturday, when they play host to Quinnipiac. Both teams enter the game undefeated in the MAAC, with the Bobcats a game behind in the win column at 4-0-1. Kickoff from The Great Lawn is scheduled for 7 p.m.