West Long Branch, N.J. – The Monmouth University men’s soccer team continues to maintain its spot on the national stage with its appearance in the College Soccer News Preseason Top 30 Poll. Last week, the Hawks received votes in the NSCAA/Continental Tire Division I Men’s National Rankings, following their selection as the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference favorites by the league’s coaches. The Hawks’ presence in the national rankings has coincided with Monmouth Head Coach Robert McCourt’s tenure in West Long Branch. Monmouth has earned a ranking in the national polls in every year since McCourt’s second season at the helm.
"It’s great to get this early national recognition,” said McCourt. “We have a lot of experienced returning players that will combine well with a very talented group of newcomers. The mentality of the team has been fantastic so far. Hopefully our hard work and determination will translate into positive results on the field. The objective is obviously to win games and receive this national recognition throughout the course of the season.”
The 2013 team earned the MAAC Regular Season Championship and the top seed in the conference tournament. The Hawks were an undefeated 5-0-0 at home in league play a year ago, thanks in large part to a dominant defense. Matt Jeffery (Freehold, N.J./Freehold Township) earned MAAC Defensive Player of the Year, All-North Atlantic Region First Team, All-MAAC First Team and All-ECAC Second Team honors in his junior season, combining with Emmanuel Senyah Agyemang (Kumasi, Ghana/KNUST University), a fellow All-MAAC First Team honoree, and the nation’s leader in goals-against average, goalkeeper Eric Klenofsky (Lincoln Park, N.J./DePaul Catholic), to create one of the toughest defenses in the MAAC to score on last season.
From the beginning of conference play, the Hawks allowed just three goals for a 0.23 goals-against average with nine shutouts, all tops in the league. Overall, the Hawks ranked 23rd in the nation in team goals-against average (0.74) and 27th in shutout percentage (0.45). Jeffery and Agyemang were recently named to the 2014 Preseason All-MAAC Team.
The Hawks open the 2014 season on August 29, when they play host to UMass Lowell for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff on Hesse Field at The Great Lawn. Monmouth will also square off against Lehigh at home on Sept. 1 at 7 p.m.