Seton Hall holds off No. 19 Monmouth's offensive surge for upset
SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. -- Junior Max Garcia scored his team-leading fourth goal of the season in the 18th minute to help Seton Hall upset No. 19 Monmouth University 1-0 on Friday.
The Hawks came into the match with a 4-0-1 record, but fell behind early and were never able to recover.
Seton Hall faced its second ranked opponent over the last three games and the win was SHU's first against a top-25 foe this season. The Pirates snapped a three-game losing streak to the regional rival from West Long Branch, avenging a 3-0 loss last season.
The bulk of Seton Hall's first-half scoring chances came in the first 20 minutes of the action, and after a couple of near misses, Garcia and junior George Velasquez hooked up for the eventual game-winner.
Velasquez made a strong move down the left side, making his way all the way to the end line. Even though he was flanked by defenders, he still sent a crossing pass to Garcia over on the right side, which Garcia settled and hammered past Monmouth goalkeeper Alex Blackburn.
Garcia moves up to second in the Big East with four goals and is also second in the conference with nine points. He leads the conference with 25 shot attempts this season.
Monmouth outshot Seton Hall 5-4 in the opening half and SHU keeper Kevin Bonder finished with one save in the period.
While Monmouth came out strong to start the second half, the Seton Hall defense deflected their attempts. Finally, in the 70th minute, the Pirate offense orchestrated a pair of strong offensive plays in succession that nearly resulted in the team's second goal of the game.
Monmouth's offense attacked over the final 10 minutes of the game as the Hawks searched for the equalizer. Midfielder Ryan Clark executed a pair of long set pieces to forwards in the box, but never connected for a goal.
The best chance for Monmouth came in the 87th minute as Clark passed to Matt Jeffery for a header, but his attempt missed barely wide to the left.
As a result of the Monmouth charge, the Hawks finished with a 14-7 advantage in shots, but only two of those attempts were on net and Bonder was there to save them both. The SHU goalkeeper turned in his first clean sheet of the season and the third of his career.