Monmouth beats AU in men's soccer, 3-1

Just after shaking off their first loss of the season to Princeton University last week, AU fell to No. 7 Monmouth University Sunday 3-1.

“We basically took it the same way as we did against Princeton, we’re not trying to make any game bigger than the next — we obviously scheduled some big games,” Head Coach Todd West said.

The Hawks struck early, scoring in the second minute.

AU tried to find the equalizer but could not find the back of the net, despite numerous scoring chances in the first half. In the 17th minute junior Jack Scott’s shot to the near post was denied by Monmouth goalie Bryan Merdith.

The Eagles awarded a free kick in the 55th minute after senior Mike Worden was fouled 25 yards out. The ensuing free kick, taken by Jamie Davin, was headed out of bounds, but when Monmouth’s Meredith tried to jump up and save the ball, the official rewarded the Eagles with a corner kick.

Freshman Eli Dennis then headed Davin’s pass into the back of the net to give AU its first goal of the game.

“I’ve been told my whole life that half the battle of scoring on a corner is the cross,” Dennis said. “And Jamie Davin, he just put a great cross in and I was lucky enough to get on the end of one.”

After the goal, Monmouth went on the offensive attack and the Hawks were rewarded a corner kick of their own just 10 minutes later. The Monmouth players rushed the goal when the ball was kicked, and after several saves and attempted clearances by AU goalie Matt Makowski and the Eagle’s defense, Monmouth scored its second goal with 20 minutes left.

“We let the second goal kind of take our momentum away,” West said. “We were on top of them and moving the ball and creating chances, and that goal just kind of sucked the life out of us a little bit.”

The Eagles could not find the second equalizer, and in the 81st minute Monmouth scored again, leading to a final tally of 3-1.

AU’s record now stands at 2-2, as the team looks to bounce back next Saturday against Syracuse University at Reeves Field before facing defending national champions University of Virginia.

West said the team needs to move forward and shake off the loss to prepare for Patriot League play.

“Right now it’s about recovery because Friday, Sunday [is] a pretty tough turnaround, so it’s about recovery and getting guys healthy,” West said. “We’ve got [four] days before Syracuse comes to town so it will be about recovery and cleaning a few things up.”

The game against Monmouth showed that the Eagles can compete against nationally ranked opponents, Dennis said.

“It’s clear that we can hang with some of the best teams in the country,” Dennis said. “We’re just going to go in with the same mindset and try and do our best in everyone.”

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