April 3, 2011

O'Brien Caps Late Monmouth Rally for Victory

from press release

WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. --  Senior Molly O'Brien's (Kennett Square, Pa./Unionville) goal with 23 seconds left gave Monmouth a 10-9 victory over Long Island University Sunday afternoon on Kessler Field.

The Hawks (8-3, 3-1 NEC) needed a pair of goals in the final 1:04 to tie and take the win over the Blackbirds (0-10, 0-3 NEC).  Long Island's Sara LaNoir put her squad ahead 9-8 with 4:50 to play on a free position goal but MU was able to break the LIU stall and gain possession of the ball.

"I thought the team did a great job comIng back to win," said head coach Denise Wescott.  "We had a lot of calls against us and we started playing tentatively. I think the attack fought hard to get possession at the end of the game and it was nice to see Molly finish her 8 meter. Our defense gave up too many 8 mts. But our goalie made some nice saves."

Sam Lillo's (Short Hills, N.J./Milburn) fourth goal of the game tied the game up at 9-9 with 1:04 to play.  MU won the ensuing draw and O'Brien earned a free position shot but it was saved by Blackbird goalie Jacqueline Simonian with 54 seconds left.  Lillo forced a LIU turnover with 30 seconds left and got the ball to O'Brien, who was fouled with 26 ticks remaining.  This time O'Brien shot high, beating Simonian to give MU a 10-9 lead.  LIU won the draw after the goal but senior Rachel Feirstein (St. James, N.Y./Smithtown East) forced a Blackbird turnover and gained possession of the ball to secure the victory.

Monmouth wasted little time taking a 7-6 lead with Tori Jordan (Sewell, N.J./Washington Twp.)  notching an unassisted goal with 27:31 left in the game.   Long Island's Kimbery Kovar answered 46 seconds later to tie it and the scoring ended for almost 20 minutes of game time.  LIU midfielder Sara Lanoir tallied her first goal of the game with 7:52 to put the Blackbirds up 8-7 but Lillo tied  the game up for the seventh time just over a minute later.  LaNoir followed that up with another goal to tie it up 9-9 setting up Lillo's and O'Brien's heroics.

Sophomore Gianna D'Urso (Fairfield, N.J./West Essex) put MU ahead 1-0 on an unassisted goal after she ran almost the length of the field and beat the LIU goalie high.  Back to back goals from Blackbird Shakoya Smith put Long Island ahead 2-1 with just under three minutes taken off the clock.  The Hawks then rattled off three unanswered goals from the 21:14 mark to the 16:03 mark to take a 4-2 lead.  Junior Erica Abendschoen (West Caldwell, N.J./James Caldwell) had a goal and an assist during that run for the Blue & White.  It was then LIU that scored three straight, including one from Smith to retake a 5-4 lead.  Lillo's second goal of the half tied the game up with 7:27 to play in the frame but LIU senior Annie Kalata put her squad back in front with an unassisted goal at the 6:11 mark.  Abendschoen's second goal of the half ensured that Monmouth would go tied 6-6 into halftime for the second straight match.

Lillo finished with a career-high six points in the game, coming on a personal-best four goals and two assists. Abendschoen had two goals and  an assist while the MU defense forced 13 turnovers in the game.  Senior goalie Kirby Mundorf (Cambridge, Md./Seton Keogh) had eight saves in the game, including two late in the game.  LIU held a 25-21 advantage in shots but committed 18 turnovers compared to MU's 11.

Simonian had 11 saves in the game, seven of which came in the final frame.  Smith led the Blackbirds with four points on three goals while LaNoir and Kalata had a pair of goals each.  Cailyn Cowan finished with three caused turnovers.  The game featured seven yellow cards and 71 fouls called, 41 of which were on the Hawks.

Monmouth renews its rivalry with instate foe Rutgers on Tuesday afternoon at Kessler Field.  Game time is set for  3 p.m.

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