WEST HAVEN, Conn. – The third-seeded Monmouth University men’s soccer team played second-seeded Fairleigh Dickinson to a 1-1 tie in the Northeast Conference Tournament Semifinals, but the Knights advanced on penalty kicks, 4-3, Friday afternoon at Ken Strong Stadium. With the tie, the Hawks move to 11-4-4, while the Knights are now 9-5-5 and will face fourth-seeded Saint Francis (Pa.), which advanced past top-seeded Quinnipiac in a shootout in Friday’s first semifinal.
“Anytime you lose in penalty kicks, it’s obviously devastating for the guys,” said Monmouth Head Coach Robert McCourt. “However, when they look back on the season, they’ll be nothing but proud. I’d like to pay tribute to the group of seniors, because they’ve had outstanding careers. I know they’ll look back on their careers at Monmouth and be really proud.”
FDU took a 1-0 lead in the 39th minute after the Hawks played a high-arcing ball back to goalkeeper Alex Blackburn (Natick, Mass./Natick), but the ball took a high bounce over the outstretched arms of the senior keeper. Simon Doherty ran in behind Blackburn to knock it in from the doorstep.
In the 51st minute, the Hawks drew even off a set piece. Agyemang got a head on a free kick into the box. FDU goalkeeper Jacob Lissek made the initial save, but it caromed off Agyemang’s back and into the net for the equalizer.
In the shootout, Joseph Schmid (Kingston, Pa./Wyoming Valley West) made the first attempt, before Jack McVey matched his effort. Andres Penfold’s (Scarsdale, N.Y./Scarsdale) next try was saved by Lissek, before Nicholas Walker rocketed a shot past Blackburn to put FDU on top, 2-1. Ryan Clark’s (Freehold, N.J./Freehold Township) attempt clanged off the right post and Anders Vest-Hansen put FDU on top, 3-1, with a good try. Matt Jeffery (Freehold, N.J./Freehold Township) made his attempt to keep the Hawks alive and Blackburn denied Antony Moore to further the Hawks’ effort. Francois “Paco” Navarro (Paris, France) connected on his attempt, before Jan Aubert put it away for the Knights.
For the game, FDU took a 15-11 edge in shots and a 5-3 advantage in corner kicks. Blackburn made four saves, while Lissek countered with two saves.