Soccer taken down by Tigers
All it took was one moment midway through the first half, a free kick from Princeton defender Josh Walburn that seemed to deflect off a Seton Hall defender and freeze Pirates keeper Paul McHenry in the net.
When the game went final, that momentary lapse by the Hall’s defense led to a second straight loss to an in-state opponent at the season’s start.
Seton Hall fell to Princeton, 3-2, on Monday night at Owen T. Carroll Field.
It was the team’s first regular season home game after starting its year 1-1 the prior week.
Junior Steven Rose picked up a pair of goals in the loss, the first of which came on a corner kick assist by junior Brayan Martinez.
All of the goals scored by both teams came in the first half.
“As much as we hate to lose, we want to acknowledge the good things,” head coach Manny Schellscheidt said. “(Rose) was very good and had an excellent game besides the goals.”
Rose’s initial score at the 10:14 mark was followed only two minutes later by the Tigers, when midfielder Antoine Hoppenot used a burst of speed to break past the Hall’s defense.
Walburn put Princeton ahead for the first time around the 23 minute mark with an unassisted score.
But Seton Hall answered back, this time with Rose drawing the team even through a penalty kick.
The tie would last less than two minutes of regulation play.
Walburn’s second goal placed the Tigers back in the lead.
“It was definitely a tense game,” Rose said. “Every team is fighting for a win. They are fighting for every inch.”
While running out of time in the second half, the Hall tried to draw an offensive spark by substituting junior Sam Petrone into the match.
The junior forward only mustered one shot, not on goal, in his 36 minutes of play.
Martinez, usually a catalyst for the Pirates’ attack, had a quiet performance outside of his assist as well.
Both his shots in the game failed to challenge Tigers keeper Sean Lynch.
The Pirates outshot Princeton 16-11 and held a 7-4 edge in corner kicks.
Yet the Tigers seemed to dictate the game’s pace in the final minutes.
They cleared out the ball into Seton Hall’s end of the field several times to kill the half’s remaining time.
“Because of the few defensive plays in the second half, our legs were tired,” Schellscheidt said.
The Pirates defeated Penn on Sept. 4, 3-2.
However, they lost their season opener to Monmouth by a 1-0 score on Sept. 1.
“We need to keep our heads up and prepare for (Virginia Commonwealth),” Schellscheidt said. “Games come so quick that we don’t have time to dwell.”
Seton Hall will host the Rams at Owen T. Carroll Field on Friday night.
Game time is at 7 p.m.
Afterwards, the team hits the road.
The Pirates do not return home until Sept. 25., when they face the Rutgers Scarlet Knights in the heart of Big East play.
Virginia Commonwealth is 2-0 in the regular season after defeating St. Francis (NY) and Albany in the Coastal Carolina Tournament.
The Rams also played to a scoreless tie with Duke and only lost to No. 2 North Carolina by a single goal in exhibition play.
Brian Wisowaty can be reached at email@example.com.