Photo by Wesley Tingey on Unsplash

Providence Black Friars Down Monmouth Hawks 3-1 in Long Branch

Sunday afternoon, the Monmouth University Hawks took on the Providence Black Friars at Hesse field in West Long Branch, New Jersey. The home side came into this match sporting a 4-1 record and looking to bounce back from their first loss which came against Rutgers University two days earlier.

Before Dr. Chrissy Turner's team lost to the 16th-ranked team in the nation, Monmouth had won four straight games. During that win streak, Monmouth had surrendered just two goals, both came during a 3-2 win over Bucknell.

The Hawks leading scorer coming into today's game, Lauren Karabin had scored four goals in five games coming in, and would be looking to keep the momentum going against the visitors from Rhode Island. In the fifth minute, Monmouth jumped out in front of the visitors, whose all-black uniforms reminded one of the New Zealand Rugby team which is nicknamed the “All-Blacks."

The Hawks grabbed an all-important first blood in the match thanks to a skillful long pass from Sarina Jones down the center of the field to Lauren Karabin. The team’s leading goal-scorer shot in the opposite direction of where the goalkeeper was to give her team a 1-0 lead.

The Hawks goalkeeper would be busy after they took the lead, as the Black Friars started to rev their engines. The Friars began their offensive with two corner kicks, taken by Esther Ronn. Ronn curled both into the center of Monmouth's box, one low and the second high, but both were cleared by Hawks players.

In the 13th minute, the All Blacks tied the game with a wondrous strike from dead center that sailed high into the net above Winslow.

In the middle of the first half, it was the Sarina Jones show. The graduate student used her skill with the ball in possession to dribble all the way from midfield to Black Friar’s box at one point but was stripped just as she got through to the box.

Halfway through the first half, Providence made three substitutions, including defender Vifhuizen for Chloe Ortolano, while Ludwick replaced Bruno on defense for Monmouth.

Winslow was adept at stopping the many shots that Providence had during the first half, including a stop against big defender Avery Snead in the 26th minute. Five minutes later, Providence took the lead on Kenney’s shot into the bottom right corner.

The Black Friar's had shifted momentum in their favor, after falling prey to an early counter-attack that was finished off by Monmouth's leading goal scorer. Karabin's tally was all Monmouth had to show for an exciting first half, but the Hawks were far from out of the game, even though they were down 2-1.

Second Half

The Black Friar’s head coach could be heard loudly yelling instructions at his players throughout the match. The Friars were helped by the fact that they made five substitutions, including bringing defender Ortolano and Hughes back on, after subbing them off ten minutes prior to halftime.

Injecting Hughes back into the lineup gave the friar’s that scoring touch they needed to extend their lead. In the 50th minute, Gillian made a low cross that rolled right in front of Monmouth’s goal and took a few deflections before being tapped home by red hot Hughes.

Once Providence took a 3-1 lead, the game became physical, with both teams trading tackles in the midfield. As soon as the Hawks’ goal scorer, Karabin or Jones tried to take a full head of steam into Providence’s half, the Black Friars would close in on Monmouth's outstanding forwards and make sure they did not have time or space to create.

In the 70th minute, Hawks head coach Dr. Krissy Turner made several substitutions, trying to bring on fresh legs. Karabin could be seen hunting down opponent's in Providence's half. She used her low center of gravity to bump against a black friar and win the ball with her feet, but her work was undone when a foul was called to the displeasure of the good crowd that turned out.

Around the 80th minute, a Monmouth defender blasted the ball out of her own box. At the same time she made that kick, Providence's offensive tower of power Kenney Gillian challenged for the ball and knocked knee against the Monmouth player's swinging leg. Gillian crashed to the ground and the Providence medical staff ran out to attend to her, helping her off the field.

Monmouth ended up suffering a 3-1 win at Hesse field against a good defensive team. Last year's Big East Freshman of the Year, Meg Hughes sunk the home team's ship with two goals, although the Hawks took a 1-0 lead in the 3rd minute. 

Hawks Postgame Reactions

After the game, I was able to catch up with Lauren Karabin, who opened the scoring for Monmouth. She was both friendly and very intelligent when it came to describing how the goal happened.

“The first goal was big because it’s a play we’ve been working on a lot during training,” Karabin said. "It felt good to put it all together. When I had the ball, I [told myself to] just stay calm and finish it.”

Karabin is a senior and has been a part of some great Monmouth University squads. The 2019 team went 10-0 in Conference play and won a MAAC Championship, which Karabin, Jones and Coach Turner were a part of. The Hawks senior leader was able to describe the relationship she has with Sarina Jones, who is also one of the more experience players on this team.

“I feel like we we’re all on the same page. Sarina knows I like to look for that long pass in behind the defense, we made eye contact and [her pass] was perfect.”

As far as Monmouth's opponent is concerned, the 2020-21 BIG EAST Freshman of the Year scored a brace and really overpowered Monmouth's defense. Monmouth's defense was unable to stop the stocky forward from getting in the right position right in front of goal on Providence's third goal, which effectively put the game out of reach, so here is what Monmouth's only goal-scorer on the day said about what Providence did to them.

“They were very strong, and they move the ball quickly, so we just needed to keep up the pace. I think we did a good job of that, but sometimes they were a little bit quicker. With all of our games, we need to be quicker with our passes, even if we have time, we can always move it quicker, and if we start to play faster and better, we’ll be a lot better.” - Lauren Karabin

“The gameplan was to come out strong, which we did, but then they punished us for the mistakes we made. You can’t give up a goal, [early] in the second half, but on the day, we had some good moments.”

“I think it has to be consistent for 90 minutes, we have one last game against Harvard who’s a really good team, we’ll have our work cut out for us. We’ll see if we can use this week to work on our game and be ready for Harvard on Sunday. - Dr. Krissy Turner

Monmouth University women's soccer will have a whole week of training before their next match. Their last game before MAAC conference play kicks off is next Sunday at home against Harvard University at 1:00 PM. The Hawks season only gets tougher from here, but based on what Coach Turner and leading goal scorer, Lauren Karabin said after the match-- the changes that need to be made are simple but difficult to apply. To implement these changes, the Hawks need to take the hard lesson they learned today and apply it to training so they can be ready for Harvard and then Iona a week after that.

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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.