Julian Gomez has scored in six successive matches. (Photo courtesy of Monmouth University)
GREENSBORO, N.C. – The Monmouth University men overcame a one-goal deficit in the second half to register a 2-1 win over Bowling Green University in the opening round of the NCAA Division I tournament Thursday night.
The Hawks (6-2-1) won an NCAA tournament game in regulation for the first time in program history after advancing on penalty kicks in 2009 and 2011. The Falcons finished their season at 7-5-1.
“Our best teams always start with the best people. We have really good people with this program right now, on and off the field,” Monmouth associate head coach Hugh McDonald said. “They have made big sacrifices, especially through this COVID scenario, and continue to do the right things. When we have these comeback wins, it’s because we have a hard-working, committed group. I’m really proud of them. These moments don’t bother the guys, because they trust the work they have already put in to get here.”
Nathan Masters scored for Bowling Green in the 43rd mnute.
Monmouth tied the game in the 57th minute. Sophomore Julian Gomez scored for the sixth consecutive match, heading home a corner kick from sophomore Ben Zakowski.
“I saw an opening in the defense before Ben took the corner kick, and he put it right where I wanted it,” Gomez said. “I just tried to get good contact on the ball, and I was really happy that it went in.”
The Hawks took the lead in the 82nd minute, as Zakowski played a short pass to graduate student Jonas Lindner, who fired a shot inside the top of the net.
Redshirt junior goalkeeper Sean Murray made six saves in the win, including three vital stops in final 40 seconds.
“We got together at halftime and just said we’ve been down before,” Murray said. “We turned things around in the second half and got the game on our terms. When you have the lead in a college soccer game, you know the last couple of minutes will be hectic. The guys in front of me did a great job of defending all game. I’m just happy I was able to do my part in the last minute.”
Monmouth will face No. 2 University of Pittsburgh in the second round Sunday.