In a game that seemed destined for extra-time, Monmouth forward Alexis McTamney shocked all spectators at Owen T Carroll Field, turning and curling a shot into the side netting with five seconds left to give the Hawks a 1-0 win over the Pirates on Sunday evening.The senior McTamney had fluffed a chance much earlier in the game to give Monmouth the lead. After being taken down in the box, the forward had her penalty kick saved by Pirates goalkeeper Anna MacLean, and skied the rebound over the bar.
The save was the first of nine for MacLean, who helped a defense led by senior Cathy Chukaka hold strong for nearly the entire game.
“That’s her job,” coach Rick Stainton said of MacLean. “She knows it’s her job. When we ask her to come up big, she has to come up big. And she’s proven to do so time and time again for us, so we’re very pleased with what she’s doing. She’s helping keep our team in games.”
It was feast or famine for the Pirates, who had one stretch of attack in the first half and one in the second. The best chance in the first came with five minutes left in the half when Sarah Cortes found Frankie Meyer who tried to pick out the run of an on-rushing teammate with a chip, but Monmouth goalkeeper Amanda Knaub was quick off her line.
Stainton spoke on the need to capitalize on these moments in the game saying, “It’s knowing and identifying when we have the numbers around the ball; taking some chances and sacrificing.
“Sometimes we’re not selfish enough, sometimes we’re always looking for somebody else,” Stainton said. “So we’re looking to encourage them to take people one v one, or once we identify the numbers, to counterattack and really go after them.”
The Pirates’ best chance in the second half came in a flurry. First it was Cortes who almost was able to turn in the box and get a shot off, but the ball was cleared away. Off the clearance, however, Lauren Dao fired a ball in front of the box to an on-rushing Meyer who hit it off the volley, mid-stride, just wide of the post.
Then came controversy when MacLean extended her body and made a tremendous save on a slow rolling shot. The referee ruled no goal, while the Monmouth bench was already up on its feet celebrating what they thought was the game-winning goal.
Although, with five seconds left, Monmouth would get that game-winning goal. With the PA announcer counting down the seconds, McTamney was able to make amends for her penalty miss, shaking off two Pirate defenders before turning and curling a shot into the side netting to break Pirate hearts.
“It wasn’t because of a lack of our effort,” Stainton said. “It was a shame to have it end the way it did.”
Seton Hall women’s soccer takes the field next when it goes to New York to face Albany at 7 p.m.
James Justice can be contacted by email at email@example.com or on Twitter @MLSTakeover.