Nov. 11, 2005
WEST LONG BRANCH, NJ - Second-team All-Northeast Conference performer Tom Gray (Middletown, NJ/ Middletown South) tallied a walk-off goal as the clock struck the 107th minute to propel #1 seed Monmouth University to a 2-1 double overtime victory over #4 seed Sacred Heart University in a 2005 NEC Men's Soccer Tournament semifinal game at The Great Lawn in West Long Branch, New Jersey.
Monmouth (10-3-6) got the game-winning goal as Chris Ell (Toms River, NJ/Toms River North) raced down the right third seam and fed a through ball to Steven Holloway (Hamilton, New Zealand/Hamilton Boys) at the top of the box. Holloway found an unmarked Gray on the left side and the sophomore forward blasted a shot past a charging Sacred Heart netminder for his fourth goal of the season.
Sacred Heart (7-7-4) sent the game into overtime with late-game heroics by Nick Loyd (Plymouth, MN/ Armstrong). The senior, looking to avoid playing his last game, weaved through the Hawks' defense and found himself unchecked on the right elbow of the box. He gathered the ball and unleashed a shot to the far left netting to notch the equalizer with 17:12 remaining in regulation.
Monmouth broke the scoring seal in the 57th minute. Holloway, MU's top goal scorer on the season, logged his sixth goal. The junior received an assist from Brent Bauer (Pittsgrove, NJ/A.P. Schalick) on the goal to give the Hawks a 1-0 edge with 33:16 showing on the second-half clock.
In a game that featured the league's top two goaltenders, first-team All-NEC selection Art Satterwhite (Somerset, NJ/Franklin Township) made two saves to pick up his 10th win of the season. Second-team All-NEC choice Matthew Jones (Stoke-on-Trent, England/Sandon) put on an impressive display himself. The freshman had a tougher test and made nine saves, including a pair of the dazzling variety.
Monmouth owned a 16-7 edge in shots and an 11-3 advantage in shots on goal. The Hawks also held a slight 4-3 edge in corner kicks chances, but the Blue and White were unlucky in the offside column, getting whistled six times to three for Sacred Heart.
With the win, Monmouth advances to Sunday's NEC Tournament championship game with first kick slated for 12 p.m. on The Great Lawn. The Hawks are scheduled to play the winner of Friday afternoon's second semifinal game between #2 seed Central Connecticut State University and #3 seed Robert Morris University.