FAIRFIELD, Conn. – Freshman goalkeeper Eric Klenofsky (Lincoln Park, N.J./DePaul Catholic) posted a 110-minute shutout with seven saves and made two saves in the penalty kick shootout as the top-seeded Monmouth University men’s soccer team advanced past No. 4 Manhattan in the MAAC Championship Semifinals Friday night at Lessing Field on the campus of Fairfield University. The game ended in a 0-0 tie before the Hawks advanced to the MAAC Championship Game with a 3-0 win in the penalty kick shootout. The Hawks move to 8-6-5 with the tie, while the Jaspers end their season at 5-10-3. Monmouth will face the winner of the second semifinal between No. 2 Quinnipiac and No. 3 Iona.
In the shootout, Monmouth senior captain Joseph Schmid (Kingston, Pa./Wyoming Valley West) scored on the first attempt, before Klenofsky went right to deny Daniel Festa. David Acuna Camacho (Heredia, Costa Rica/Costa Rica Youth National Team) put the Hawks up 2-0 in the shootout, easily beating Manhattan goalkeeper Alex Coates-McDowall. The score remained 2-0 as Klenofsky went left to once again denied a Jasper, this time Tommy Amos. Derek Luke (Bridgewater, N.J./Bridgewater-Raritan) made it 3-0, before Manhattan’s Dan Laguna Kennedy missed the target to clinch the shootout for the Hawks.
In regulation, the Hawks took a 20-8 edge in shots but couldn’t find the back of the net. Schmid hit the post in the 12th minute, before Francois “Paco” Navarro (Paris, France) had his shots saved in the 12th and 18th minutes. Schmid and Luke generated dangerous scoring opportunities in the 41st and 43rd minutes, respectively, but the first half ended at 0-0.
After the Hawks fired off a pair of shots in the early going of the second half, Klenofsky saved Eugene Heerschap’s shot at the 48-minute mark and Festa’s header off a corner in the 51st minute went wide. Luke found Jacob Rubinstein (Ocean Township, N.J./Ocean) in the middle of the 18-yard box in the 55th minute, but the senior’s shot went wide of the left post. In the 68th minute, the Hawks connected several passes, but Schmid’s shot sailed high. In the 71st minute, Tomas Penfold (Scarsdale, N.Y./Scarsdale) had his shot saved, before Schmid collected the rebound and had his shot blocked.
Just a minute later, Jeffery saw his header in front sail just high. The Hawks survived a scare in the 83rd minute, when Festa’s shot from 35 yards out knocked off the crossbar.
Klenofsky made four saves, two each in the two overtime periods, to send the game to penalty kicks. Monmouth had a pair of dangerous opportunities late in the second overtime, but Matt Jeffery’s (Freehold, N.J./Freehold Township) header in the 107th minute went wide and offside wiped away what would’ve been the golden goal in the 108th minute.