NEW YORK - The Columbia men's soccer team will head out on the road for the second time this season, traveling to nearby West Long Branch, N.J. to face Monmouth Saturday. The match is set for a 7 p.m. kickoff at The Great Lawn on Monmouth's campus.
Columbia is coming off its first victory of the season, a 2-0 downing of Manhattan Wednesday night at the Columbia Soccer Stadium. After a scoreless first half against the Jaspers, Columbia scored a pair of goals separated by 2:03.
Nick Scott began the scoring, drilling home a penalty kick four minutes into the second period. Quentin Grigsby struck with his first goal of the season in the 52nd minute, placing a header perfectly into the top corner of the net off a Scott corner kick.
The Lions have played three very even matches to open the season. Columbia has recorded 25 shots, while its opponents have managed one more at 26. Columbia's opponents have also registered one more shot on goal, 13-12, but the Lions have held a distinct edge in corner kicks. The Lions have taken 24 corner kicks in its first three contests, while the Lions' defense has limited opponents to just six opportunities.
Monmouth will be a good test for the Lions. With a 3-0-1 record, the Hawks received votes in the Sept. 4 NSCAA Coaches poll. Monmouth, who made the NCAA tournament for the third straight year in 2011, opened 2012 with three straight wins, sandwiching shutouts of Towson (1-0) and Rider (2-0) around a 3-1 win over Providence.
The Hawks will enter Saturday's match coming off their first non-victory of the year, a 1-1 tie with Hofstra Sunday, Sept. 2. Jacob Rubenstein scored his second goal of the season in the game, bringing his point total to six. Francois Navarro is the only Hawk with more points than Rubenstein with seven on two goals and three assists. Alex Blackburn has been the lone goalkeeper to see action this season for Monmouth, logging 380 minutes, 14 saves and a 0.875 save percentage.
Columbia and Monmouth met for the first time ever last season, with the Hawks capturing a 1-0 win. Derek Luke, a freshman for Monmouth in 2011, scored the game's only goal in the 17th minute.