WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. - A late second-half push was not enough to overcome a two-goal deficit as the Quinnipiac University men's soccer team fell to Monmouth, 2-1, in the 2009 Northeast Conference Championship Game Sunday afternoon at the Great Lawn. Senior co-captain Shane Recklet (Shelton, Conn.) scored the Bobcats' lone goal of the game in 61st minute, but the top-seeded Hawks held off Quinnipiac in the waning minutes to win its third conference title in program history.
"We had a chance to win this game throughout the entire 90 minutes," said head coach Eric Da Costa. "We lost to a good team and they are great representatives of the conference. They are a top-10 team in the country and we were right there, battling with them for the whole game. Our team was right on their heels the entire way and refused to give in. We kept fighting for the equalizer, but it unfortunately never came."
Two Monmouth goals in a four-minute span early in the second half put the Hawks up 2-0. Chase Barbieri started the scoring with a header on a crossing pass from Ryan Clark into the top left corner. Just under three minutes later, 2009 NEC Player of the Year Ryan Kinne gave the Hawks the two-goal advantage with another header to the lower corner of the goal. RJ Allen collected an assist as he put the free kick into the box to Kinne for the goal.
Recklet answered back with a goal on a loose ball rebound just eight minutes after Kinne's goal. Sophomore Conor Murphy (Wallingford, Conn.) put a long ball into the 18-yrad box that deflected off the side of a Monmouth defender. The inside of the goal box was muddy and saturated from a weekend of rain, causing the ball to stop in the middle of the box in front of Recklet. The senior midfielder pushed it past a surprised Monmouth goalkeeper Bryan Meredith for his third goal of the season.
Both teams settled into the game over the next 25 minutes of action, trading scoring opportunities. Quinnipiac began to pressure the Hawks in the final minutes, seeking the equalizer to force overtime.
Freshman Philip Suprise (Milwaukee, Wis.) and junior Dominic Adams (John Dial, Trinidad and Tobago) both had scoring chances in the final minutes on long runs and through passes along the left sideline. Junior defender Pierre Soubrier (Aurignac, France) had the best chance to tie the game, but missed scoring on a 25-yard free kick as his shot just sailed over the top of the crossbar.
The Bobcats were not able to push the equalizer across the goal line as Monmouth held on for the win, 2-1. The Hawks' Allen was named the Tournament MVP, leading the Hawks to their first NEC title since 2006.
Senior goalkeeper Freddy Hall (St. George, Bermuda) made numerous saves in the first half that kept the Hawks off the board. A diving save to his right on a 25-yard free kick in the eighth minute kept the game scoreless in the first half. Both Hall and Meredith turned aside four shots in the game.
Recklet, Soubrier and Hall were all named to the All-NEC Tournament Team for their performances over the weekend. This was the second year in a row that Hall was named to the postseason all-conference team.