LAKE BUENA VISTA, FLA.
- Top-seeded Monmouth University advanced to the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Championship Final behind its 3-0 semifinal victory over No. 5 seed Rider University on Sunday. The Hawks, on a 13-game unbeaten streak, posted their 15th shutout on the year, tying a program record, and improved to 16-1-2 overall with the win.
Monmouth, which will face No. 2 seed Fairfield University in the title game on Monday at noon on ESPN3, received goals from freshman forward Erica Murphy
(Millstone Township, N.J./Pennington Prep), senior forward Monique Plescia
(Norwood, N.J./Northern Valley Regional-Old Tappan) and junior back Alexa Freguletti
(Mahwah, N.J./Mahwah) en route to the win.
"It was a tremendous team effort today, and I am very proud of our performance," stated head coach Krissy Turner
, who was named the MAAC Coach of the Year. "The contributions we received on both sides of the ball were fantastic. A world class goal by Erica, Monique is always following shots and Lex hit a great free kick. It is a short turn around for tomorrow's championship and we will be counting on all 25 players for tomorrow's match."
Monmouth got on the board with 2:58 remaining until halftime when Murphy's individual effort to maintain possession resulted in a laser shot from just outside the 18-box into the far netting for the 1-0 lead. Murphy, who entered the half as a sub, notched her second goal of the year.
The Hawks doubled the score to 2-0 in the 61st minute when Plescia knocked in a rebound off a Dana Costello
(Jackson, N.J./Jackson Memorial) shot for her seventh goal of the year and second of the postseason, while Costello, the MAAC Player of the Year, picked up her 10th assist of the campaign, and the 28th of her career, moving her into sole possession of second place all-time at Monmouth.
The Blue & White pushed the advantage to 3-0 in the 69th minute when Freguletti unleashed a free kick from 40 yards away that crossed over the line off the bar, for her fifth goal of the year.
Monmouth, which tied the program record of 15 shutouts in the match (set during the 1995 campaign), outshot the Broncs 17-7 in the match and held a 5-2 edge in corner kick opportunities. Fifth-year senior Ashley Lewis
(Freehold, N.J./Freehold Boro), the MAAC Goalkeeper of the Year, made two saves in net for the Hawks, while the Rider goalkeeping tandem of Bethany-May Howard (three saves) and Vanessa Perdomo (five) made eight stops for the Broncs.
Top-seeded Monmouth, which has not conceded a goal in the last 673:58 minutes of action, and second-seeded Fairfield, which defeated No. 6 Siena 1-0 in the second semifinal, will face off for the MAAC Championship at noon on ESPN3, for the right to earn the league's automatic bid to the 2013 NCAA Tournament.@MUWSoccer -- #FlyHawks