Monmouth Converts PK Late In Match To End Men's Soccer Season, 1-0
WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. – Monmouth converted a penalty kick in the 77th minute to down Mount St. Mary's 1-0 in Northeast Conference (NEC) men's soccer action on Sunday. The Mount finished with its best record since 2003 with an 8-7-2 mark, but was eliminated from postseason consideration with the loss.
Peter Steve (Dallas, Pa./Dallas) made four saves for the Mountaineers (8-7-2, 5-4-1 NEC) in the loss. The game was the final game for seniors Chris Wheeler (Newcastle, Australia/St. Francis Xavier), Ian Hendrie (Potomac, Md./St. Andrews Episcopal School) and Kyle Patrick (Hershey, Pa./Hershey).
"I am proud of the effort that the team put forth today," said head coach Rob Ryerson. "We will miss the senior leadership from this team and I hope that the underclassmen will learn from their experience this season."
After a foul in the box, RJ Allen converted a penalty kick at 76:11 to give the Hawks (13-5-0, 7-3-0 NEC) the decisive goal. Alex Blackburn turned away two shots in the winning effort.
In a match that both teams needed to win in an effort to advance to the upcoming NEC Tournament, Monmouth broke a scoreless standstill late in the game and held on to secure its spot in the postseason.
Mount St. Mary's had a couple chances to score on the afternoon, but could not convert. Matthew Steele (Mechanicsburg, Pa./Mechanicsburg) had his shot blocked at 12:18. Patrick had his shot turned away by Blackburn at 20:53 before Alex Graver (Palmerton, Pa./Palmerton) also had a scoring chance blocked at 38:25. After the Hawks took the one-goal edge, Wheeler gave the Mountaineers its final scoring chance, but Blackburn was there for the save to secure the shutout. Mount St. Mary's had a pair of corner kicks in the final six minutes, but could not get a shot off on either attempt.
Wheeler finished his career as the program's all-time career leader in shots (303) and the Mount's Division I leader in goals (36) and points (83) while ranking third in program history in goals and fourth in points. The senior established a new Mount Division I single-season mark for goals in a season after scoring 13 times last season. Patrick finished his career with eight tallies and eight assists for 24 points while Hendrie registered seven goals and seven assists for 21 points in his career. Hendrie ranked second on the team with three goals and seven assists for 13 points.
It also marks end of freshman Zoncher Dennis' (Swarthmore, Pa./Swarthmore) sensational first season in Emmitsburg. The freshman posted an NEC-best 11 goals along with one assist for 23 points. Dennis became the third player in league history to be named the NEC Rookie of the Week four times and tied a program record when he scored four goals against La Salle on Sept. 24.
Along with notching its first winning record since the 2003 season, the Mountaineers posted its third winning record in NEC play in the last four years.