The men’s soccer team played to a scoreless tie with St. John’s on Sunday night in Jamaica, Queens.
The Red Storm came into the game ranked No. 15 in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America poll.The Pirates have not lost a match since they lost to Princeton on Sept. 7, 3-2.”We are responding to the challenge,” head coach Manny Schellscheidt said. “It’s moving ourself forward on the day by day basis of training and now we are beginning to see more consistent performances from a good number of guys.”The Hall took 11 shots in the game, only sending three of them on the net.Dritan Sela led all forwards on Sunday with four shots, however no shots made it on the goal.Bryan Longo had the best scoring chance for the Pirates, when in overtime he received a pass to the right of the goalkeeper, but missed the right corner by a matter of feet.”We defended as a team,” Schellscheidt said. “We stuck it out. There was a lot more defending going on then we would have liked to do. On the other hand, when we had the ball we went at them.”The Red Storm had constant pressure on the Pirate defense.Senior goalkeeper Paul McHenry faced fourteen shots in the 110-minute game, making seven saves, enroute to being named the Big East Goalkeeper of the Week. “Maybe it could have been one of his better games period that he has played in the goal because they were coming at us pretty good,” Schellscheidt said.St. John’s had three players that took three shot attempts.Sophomore forward Walter Hines had three shot attempts, two of which were saved by McHenry.”When we are under pressure and Paul is busy, these usually become Paul’s better games. It was a big time game for him,” Schellscheidt said.This shutout was McHenry’s second of the season, his first coming on Sept. 11 against Virginia Commonwealth.”These are the kind of teams that put us on the test to see if we can put up with them,” Schellscheidt said.The Hall was coming off of their Big East opener last Friday at Syracuse University.Sela led the Pirates to the 3-1 victory with a hat trick, the first of his collegiate career.”The wins don’t come because on a given day you happen to win, they come because some guys or a big number of guys stepped up and got the job done,” Schellscheidt said.Sela has filled in the void left by Brayan Martinez, who did not play in either match due to an injury.Junior Sam Petrone, who last year started off his Seton Hall career by netting two hat tricks in non-conference play, came off the bench in both games to give a boost to the Pirates offense.”We don’t know when he’s on,” Schellscheidt said. “We have no idea when it clicks and when he doesn’t.”Petrone has not started a game this year for the Pirates and has not scored a goal.”All we can do is give him chances,” Schellscheidt said. “It’s hard now because (sophomore midfielder Erik) Vendola moved up from defense into the forward now, he (Petrone) doesn’t start because (Vendola has) given us more at the moment. I still have to put the guys on the field that I think give me the best effort.”On Friday, the Pirates will take on their in-state rival Rutgers at Owen T. Carroll Field. Schellscheidt said that Martinez “is now cleared to scrimmage with us.”If Martinez does play, it will give the Pirates another offensive threat to go up against a Scarlet Knights team that has given up only two goals in Big East play this year.Timothy LeCras can be reached at email@example.com