Oct. 2, 2009
Fairfield, CT - The Sacred Heart men's soccer team opened Northeast Conference play this afternoon with a 0-0 tie against the tenth ranked Monmouth Hawks. Alex Fait (Ottawa, Canada) made nine saves, including a game saving stop with three minutes remaining in double overtime, to earn his fourth shutout of 2009. Hawks goaltender Brian Meredith made two saves and a circus save of his own at the end of regulation to preserve the 0-0 draw.
Monmouth (8-0-1, 0-0-1 NEC) controlled the action through most of the first half outshooting Sacred Heart 8-2. Max Hamiliton would be the first Hawk to test Fait just seven minutes into the game but the sophomore made the easy save. The Pioneers nearly pulled ahead midway through the half as Norman Baer's (Marl, Germany) free kick appeared to be headed for the back of the net but rang off the crossbar to deny the Pioneers.
Fait came up huge for Sacred Heart with seven minutes to play in the half making a save at point blank range turning away a hard shot from George Caiella. At the end of the half Monmouth nearly scored on a free kick from RJ Allen that found its way through traffic but the SHU keeper made the diving save to keep the game knotted at zero.
Sacred Heart (3-3-1, 0-0-1 NEC) nearly conceeded a goal early in the second half from a corner kick as Anthony Vazquez sent a hard volley on net that Fait was just able to steer wide of the goal. The Pioneers had a scoring chance of their own from a corner kick in the 70th minute but Marcello Castro (Parana, Brazil) missed the target high with his header. William Richards (Commack, NY) put Sacred Heart's first shot on goal late in the second half but Meredith was able to scoop it off the ground for an easy save.
The Pioneers nearly scored the game winner with 3:30 to play in regulation after a great through ball from Nemanja Filimonovic (Belgrade, Serbia). The pass found the feet of Justin Brewer (Somers, CT) in stride but as the freshman forward flicked the ball towards the net the charging Hawks goalkeeper made a fantastic game saving stop. Brewer would have one more chance in regulation but missed high, shooting from a tough angle.
Play went back and forth throughout the first overtime period with neither team able to dominate possession. At the 6:00 minute mark Brewer made a run deep into the Monmouth end before a late tackle stopped the scoring chance. Monmouth put the pressure on late in the second overtime and nearly scored a late goal to dash the Pioneers hope of an upset. Allen sent a long cross into the SHU penalty box that found the foot of Ryan Clark. Fait charged the ball and pulled it right off the foot of Clark to save the game and preserve the Pioneers one point in the NEC standings.
Sacred Heart continues Northeast Conference play this Sunday as they welcome Mount St. Mary's to campus field. Game time is set for 2:30 pm.