For many teams, a .500 week means little more than an equal number of wins and losses.
But for the women’s soccer team, splitting the week’s matches meant sending a freshman goalkeeper on the road against a nationally ranked in-state rival and, just three days later, earning a win without its offense scoring a goal.
Seton Hall improved its season record to 4-4-0 by defeating Iona 1-0 on Monday night at Owen T. Carroll Field. The team fell to then-No. 16 Rutgers in Piscataway on Friday night, 2-1 in overtime, to open its Big East schedule.”There’s no magic in winning,” head coach Kazbek Tambi said following the win vs. Iona. “For us, we need to go out and try to do the simple things very well. We need to try to play to our strengths every day and hopefully that will show up in the matches.”Against the Gaels on Monday, the Pirates’ offense continued to struggle on the attack. Forward Katie Andreski’s injury has placed more emphasis on redshirt freshman Stephanie Soma and sophomore Wiebke Balcke to lead the team’s scoring efforts.However Iona would lend a hand when, around the 57 minute mark, a free kick from junior Nicki Gross led to a pair of headers. The second deflection came from a Gaels defender and dribbled past Iona goalkeeper Suzanne Baldissard, giving the Hall a 1-0 advantage.The Pirates kept up the pressure on offense in putting up 24 total shots in the contest, 13 of which came in the second half. By comparison, Iona could only muster 12 shots in the entire game save.”We possessed the ball very well and we created enough chances to get a few more goals,” Tambi said. “But I give credit to the other team for fighting it out and keeping things tight.” Sophomore midfielder Taylor Wilson continued to be a part of the Hall’s attack, sending three shots on goal in five total attempts. Gross led the team with nine shots in the contest.”Any time you can play well and get a result, it builds some confidence and momentum going into a tough weekend,” Tambi said.At Yurcak Field against the rival Scarlet Knights on Friday, Seton Hall rallied from an early deficit to force overtime play.During the 85th minute, junior Shannon Desmond converted a perfectly placed corner kick from Gross in the back of the Rutgers net, drawing the score even at 1-1. But goalkeeper Jennifer Pettigrew kept Seton Hall in arguably one of her best games all season despite a dominant effort from the Rutgers offense. Overtime came to a close with about two minutes left in the bonus period, when Rutgers forward Ashley Jones put on a burst of speed to sidestep the Seton Hall defense after a lead-in pass from teammate Stefanee Pace. A goal past Pettigrew in the lower corner of the net gave the home team a victory despite the comeback bid by the Pirates and the strong play of its rookie keeper. The team continues to take on the Big East with a Friday match at Villanova and a Sunday contest at home vs. Georgetown.
Brian Wisowaty can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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