CINCINNATI, Ohio – Emmanuel Senyah Agyemang (Kumasi, Ghana/KNUST University) scored the equalizer in the 39th minute, but the Monmouth University men’s soccer team fell at nationally-ranked No. 14 Xavier, 2-1, in double overtime in the NCAA Tournament First Round Thursday night at the XU Soccer Complex. With the loss, the Hawks end their season at 11-4-6, while the Musketeers (14-5-2) advance to face No. 5 Indiana on Sunday at 1 p.m. The Hawks were playing in their fifth NCAA Tournament in the last nine years.
“It would be difficult to find a more proud coach than me in all of college soccer,” said Monmouth Head Coach Robert McCourt. “These young men gave everything they had tonight and just came up short. They are disappointed tonight, but when they look back, they will realize what a fantastic season we had. Our seniors have been terrific ambassadors for the program and will be sorely missed. The examples they set on and off the field will help create a successful foundation for our underclassmen.”
Xavier opened the scoring in the 15th minute, connecting passes into the box before Will Walker finished from 10 yards out. Alex Ridsdale and Matt Vasquenza were credited with assists on the play.
The Hawks tied the game in the 39th minute off a corner. Derek Luke (Bridgewater, N.J./Bridgewater-Raritan) sent the corner into the middle of the box, where Matt Jeffery (Freehold, N.J./Freehold Township) flicked it on with his left heel to Agyemang. The senior back finished low off the right post for the equalizer.
The first half ended with sophomore goalkeeper Eric Klenofsky (Lincoln Park, N.J./DePaul Catholic) going low to his left to make a diving save to keep the game tied in the final seconds.
The Musketeers nearly took the lead in the 52nd minute on Vasquenza’s rocket just wide of the right post. Matt Hill then made a run from the back line and got a shot off from inside the box, but Klenofsky was positioned perfectly for the save in the 60th minute.
Dom Sarle (Huntington, N.Y./Bradenton Prep) got loose in the box in the 70th minute, but his shot sailed high. Monmouth kept the pressure on in the 72nd minute, getting a free kick from just outside the 18-yard box. David Acuna Camacho (Heredia, Costa Rica/Costa Rica Youth National Team) and John Egan (Smithtown, N.Y./Hauppauge) got shots off, but both were blocked down by the Xavier back line.
Ridsdale sent a dangerous shot on net off a free kick in 75th minute, but Klenofsky did well to stay with the low shot and make the save. Xavier threatened again in the 84th minute, but Owen Steinwall’s shot was blocked and Garrett Halfhill’s went wide.
The Hawks threatened in the 87th minute, with Luke getting a free kick from just outside the box, but it sailed high.
Monmouth threatened in the 96th minute, putting a pair of crosses into the box, but Xavier goalkeeper Eric Osswald snatched the second out of the air. The Musketeers were awarded a corner in the 100th minute and had a shot blocked and another sent wide in the final minute of the first overtime. But the game would head to a second overtime period.
Xavier gained control of the ball in the Hawks defensive zone in the 102nd minute. Klenofsky made a save at the right post on a Vasquenza shot. But the ball batted around the box, eventually being played to Ridsdale from close range outside the right post. Ridsdale finished high past Klenofsky for the golden goal.