NIAGARA, N.Y. – Despite playing the final 71 minutes of the match a man down, the Monmouth University men scored two second-half goals to defeat Niagara University, 2-1, and advance to the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference semifinals Sunday.

Monmouth (3-2-1) will travel to No. 2 Rider Wednesday.

“Tremendous character across the board from our guys today,” Monmouth head coach Robert McCourt said. “The trip to Niagara once is tough, but two wins against a good team in four days is a true testament to the grit we have in this team. I could not be more proud of them.”

After a foul in the penalty area that led to George Akampeke’s second yellow card and subsequent red card, the Purple Eagles scored on a penalty kick midway through the first half to go ahead, 1-0.

Monmouth was forced to play the rest of the match a man down.

In the 58th minute, the Hawks scored the equalizer, as junior Liam McGregor’s long cross found the head of sophomore Julian Gomez, who flicked it above the goalkeeper.

Only 1:28 later, Monmouth was awarded a free kick. Junior Christoffer Jensen played a curling ball into the box, where junior Robin Oswald leaped and tapped it to the back of the net.

The Hawks survived a couple of late Niagara chances, as redshirt junior goalkeeper Sean Murray kept a clean sheet in the second half.