Nov. 6, 2009

Courtesy of Monmouth

WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. - The Monmouth University men's soccer team, ranked #9 in this week's NSCAA/adidas National Rankings, secured its fifth straight Northeast Conference Regular Season Championship on Friday afternoon, topping Mount St. Mary's 3-1 on The Great Lawn. The Hawks, who conclude the 2009 regular season at 16-1-1 for the first time in school history and finish 8-1-1 in league play, now earn the right to host the 2009 NEC Men's Soccer Tournament this coming Friday as the top seed. This marks the first time that a school has won five straight conference regular season titles in NEC history.

"I thought this was another excellent team performance today," said Monmouth head coach Robert McCourt. "The team is playing with good rhythm and a point to prove right now. It's difficult to win a champion ship in college athletics, so to win five is an unbelievable accomplishment. We are excited to host the conference tournament for the fifth straight season."  

MU took the match's initial lead in the seventh minute when sophomore RJ Allen (Old Bridge,N.J./St. Joseph's) sent an accurate cross from the right side to freshman Ryan Clark (Freehold, N.J./Freehold Township), whose shot deflected off the cross bar and went in. The goal is Clark's sixth of his first campaign, while Allen added his team-high seventh assist.

Mount tallied the equalizer in the 20th minute when Scott Phinith played a through ball to Chris Wheeler, who beat MU keeper Bryan Meredith (Scotch Plains, N.J./ Scotch Plains-Fanwood) near side for his seventh marker of the year.

The score remained 1-1 until the 52nd minute when Ryan Kinne's (Naugatuck, Conn./Naugatuck) well-struck, creative free kick from 25 yards out beat MSM keeper Chris Davis to put the Hawks back in front 2-1. The goal is Kinne's team-high ninth of the season. MU added its final marker in the 73rd minute when sophomore Christian Nogueira (Kearny, N.J./Kearny) crossed the ball to junior Drew Von Bargen (Medford, N.J./Shawnee), who played it back to Chase Barbieri (Hillsborough, N.J./Hillsborough) for the one-touch score. Nogueira and Von Bargen each collected their second assist on the season, respectively, while Barbieri tallied his fifth goal of the season.

Mount outshot MU 8-7 in the contest, but the Hawks held a 5-1 advantage on corner kicks. Before the contest, MU honored senior defender Daniel Bostock (Nottinghamshire, England/Virginia Intermont), who made his 54th straight career start on defense against the Mountaineers.

Monmouth's eight league wins is the highest total in conference play for any NEC team since Long Island and UMBC both went 8-1-1 in 2002. The Hawks, who allowed their first goal at home all season against MSM, also end the 2009 season a perfect 8-0-0 at home, the first time in program history that MU has gone unbeaten and untied at home.

The Hawks return to action on Friday, November 13 when they will host the yet-to-be-determined fourth seed in the NEC Semifinals.