Fresh off of a dramatic overtime victory in last week's first MAAC conference game, the Monmouth University Hawks were looking to send a message to the conference by staying undefeated against a Quinnipiac side getting it's first taste of 2021 MAAC action.
— Monmouth Women's Soccer (@MonmouthWSOC) September 25, 2021
The Lady Hawks goal scorers from last Sunday's win, freshman midfielder Ava Allen and senior Jill Conklin each started in the Hawks 4-4-2 formation.
The opening minutes were exciting as both teams played physically and traded chances. The Bobcats jumped out in front of the home side. Two players Monmouth had trouble defending early on were the visiting forwards, Rebecca Cooke and Courtney Chocol. The two C's were key to Quinnipiac's first chance of the game. The visitors came out with energy and got down field rather quickly. Chocol played a cross into the box that was grabbed by Hawks goalkeeper, Maddie Ogden in the opening minute.
However, although Quinnipiac started out fast and furious, the home team was quick to respond. They started their response thanks to some hustle from midfielder Alexa Correa. The speedy junior was fouled down the left sideline, giving Monmouth a free kick. Senior Lauren Karabin's free kick glided slowly over the head of Quinnipiac goalkeeper, Meaghan Phillips, but ended up going off the cross bar and out of play, as the visiting bench breathed a sigh of relief.
Lady Hawks Take Lead
The game was even through 23 minutes, but then the home side’s relentless effort paid off. In a portent of the one-sided officiating that was to come, Monmouth earned a free kick at about half field in the center.
On Hawks’ first goal was due to great ball played in by center-back Lauren Bruno. Bruno’s ball was connected with Conklin who headed the ball down and into the bottom right of the net. The senior from Toms River has scored a goal two straight.
Monmouth would hold momentum through the rest of the first. In the 32nd minute, a free kick led to freshman midfielder Ava Allen smashing a loose ball off the left post and into the net.
Monmouth's goal scorers, Allen and Conklin scored for the second straight game. Conklin, a senior from Toms River, has a knack for scoring early-- having scored the team's first goal in their last game, a win over Iona on Sept. 19.
The second half started slower than the first, as Monmouth was content to get forward less. About 15 minutes into the second half, Quinnipiac tried to get back in the game.
After several minutes of sustained pressure, Quinnipiac got their first chance.
The visitor’s most visible forward was Rebecca Cooke and midway through the second half, she found herself one-on-one with the goalkeeper. It looked as if Quinnipiac would earn their first goal, but Ogden would not let that happen, rushing out to smother Cooke’s breakaway.
In the seventieth minute, Quinnipiac were rewarded for their strong play with a penalty kick. Monmouth goalkeeper Maddie Ogden guessed correctly but Midfielder Selena Salas’s strike beat her to the bottom left corner.
There were plenty of tense moments from this time forward. Quinnipiac had three corners in the second half.
Quinnipiac did not give up and kept pressing, but Monmouth handled them with stout defense led by goalkeeper Maddie Ogden. Every time a loose ball fell into the box, Ogden came out and grabbed it.
In the 88th minute, Monmouth’s defense almost caved into Bobcat pressure. The backline kept retreating until they let speedy forward Cooke slip behind them. Cooke went off to the left of goal and her weak shot with the left foot was right into the hands of Ogden.
Monmouth Hawks improve to a 6-3-0 overall record and 2-0-0 in the MAAC conference. Head coach Dr. Krissy Turner said Quinnipiac had more of the ball in the second half, but that her team was able to match their intensity even when things went slightly awry.
For the first time all season, two different players scored for Monmouth and the team’s leading scorer did not.
The senior out of Toms River, New Jersey described scoring the first goal of the game as: "It’s great, I mean, it sets the tone for the rest of the game. It puts us up one and then we can control the game."
Conklin provided some insight into what Monmouth was best at this evening.
We did pretty good at one-on-1 defending, I think that [was] important. To be able to win the ball with our outside backs and center-backs it’s huge because then they can’t play the way they want to against us.
One of my key takeaways from this game was that Monmouth women’s soccer on Sept. 25 was their composure as a team. When one describes an athlete or athletes as being composed, one means that they have been able to play the way they play best no matter what.
In addition to all of this, the Head coach who runs the practices every week and got the Hawks ready to play a tough conference opponent this week is Dr. Krissy Turner. Turner described how proud she was of the team’s commitment to excellence tonight.
“One of the things that’s important when you play Quinnipiac is to match their energy, being composed but fighting at the same time. First half we did a great job—second half, not so much, but we we’re able to stay composed and get the win, which is the most important thing.
The experienced head coach provided insight into the mental fortitude her team showed throughout the game.
“We had a great week of practice and I just think the girls were locked in. That focus is really important to have when you’re competing for first place.”
After dropping two straight to out of conference opponents, the Lady Hawks have stormed back with two consecutive wins at home. Saturday's triumph places Monmouth in a tie for first-place in the MAAC conference with Niagara.
Their next game will be on the road next Wednesday against Rider. The Broncos will be Monmouth's third straight conference opponent and have failed to record a conference win in their last two tries.
Anthony graduated from Montclair State University, where he covered a variety of sports for three years. He co-hosts a sports-themed radio show on campus radio station, WMSC 90.3 FM, which was recently named #1 college radio station in the nation.