MOON TOWNSHIP, Pa. – Monmouth senior defender Anthony Vazquez (Belford, N.J./Middletown North [St. John’s]) scored his first goal of the season in the 16th minute as the Hawks defeated Robert Morris, 1-0, in muddy playing conditions Friday afternoon at the North Athletic Complex. Paired with a 2-1 Central Connecticut loss to Quinnipiac on Friday, the Hawks (12-4-0, 6-2-0 NEC) take over sole possession of the top spot in the NEC with 18 points.
“Obviously it’s nice to get a win on the road, but our goal for the weekend is to get six points,” said Monmouth Head Coach Robert McCourt. “We have two more important games left, but this is where you want to be as a program.”
Vazquez got on the end of Ryan Clark’s (Freehold, N.J./Freehold Township) free kick served into the box. The senior made a sliding attempt on the ball that found the back of the net inside the right post in the 16th minute.
“It was a ball lifted in by (Ryan Clark) and (Anthony Vazquez) was on the end of it,” said senior midfielder Max Hamilton. “Vaz did everything right and changed the game completely with that goal.”
With the one-goal advantage, the Hawks’ defense, which entered the week ranking third in the nation in shutout percentage (.667), had all it would need to make the win stand up. The Hawks dominated possession, as evidenced by a 13-4 advantage in corner kicks. Monmouth also outshot the Colonials, 12-9. The shutout was the 11th of the season for the Hawks. Alex Blackburn (Natick, Mass./Natick) made one save to earn the shutout.
“We’ve been battling with a lot of injuries this year and had some games we should have won,” said Hamilton. “But being in first place now isn’t going to change the way we play the rest of the way.”
The Hawks play their final regular-season road game Sunday, when they face Saint Francis (Pa.) in Loretto, Pa. Kickoff from DeGol Field is scheduled for 1 p.m.