Rachelle Ross came off the bench to score twice late during defending MAAC Regular Season Champion Monmouth’s three-goal second half as the Hawks doubled up reigning tournament champion Siena Women’s Soccer 4-2 on the Jersey Shore. Senior captain Tara Sobierajski assisted on both Siena goals to surpass Caitlin Cahalan ’12 for the program’s all-time career assists record which now stands at 21.
MAAC Preseason Player of the Year Alexis McTamney tallied three points on a goal and an assist for Monmouth (9-4-1, 6-0) which improved to 32-2-2 in regular season conference competition since joining the league in 2013.
McTamney staked the Hawks to a 1-0 lead in the 12th minute before the Saints (6-5-3, 4-2) responded in the 26th minute to snap Monmouth’s shutout streak at 494:14. Sobierajski teed up a long free kick from the right that was flicked in by junior midfielder Madison Vasquez for her fourth marker of the season. The goal was the first scored against the Hawks’ defense in its last seven matches, since bequeathing three in a 3-2 loss to Loyola Sept. 20.
The score remained 1-1 heading into intermission in a tightly contested first half in a heavyweight bout between the defending MAAC Regular Season (Monmouth) and tournament (Siena) champions, and squads predicted to finish 1-2 respectively this season. However the Hawks, which received 10 of 11 first-place votes in the MAAC Preseason Coaches’ Poll, reclaimed the lead on an own goal in the 55th minute, and Ross provided a key insurance tally in the 78th minute to push the advantage to 3-1.
Down, but not out, the Saints continued to battle and rallied back within a goal with 5:58 remaining thanks to another perfectly executed vintage Sobierajski set piece. The record-breaking assist came on a corner kick from the right side which was headed in by junior Kelsey Horst for her third goal of the season.
But Ross was the difference as the Monmouth reserve responded just 26 seconds later to seal the deal for the Hawks which won their sixth straight, outscoring their opponents 28-2 over that time.
Monmouth held a 16-8 advantage in shots and a 7-2 margin in corners. Freshman goalkeeper Taylor Dorado made a season-high eight saves for Siena, while her fellow freshman counterpart Amanda Knaub stopped two shots for the Hawks.
The Saints will look to bounce back Saturday when they head to Saint Peter’s for a noon kickoff.