Men’s soccer finishes preseason unbeaten, return top scorers
The Seton Hall men’s soccer team finished the preseason with a zero in the loss column, after the Hall went winless in their final 11 games of last season.
The Pirates left Lehigh unbeaten in exhibition play, defeating the Mountain Hawks 2-1 in their final exhibition game on August 28.
Senior Bryan Longo scored 25 minutes into the first half, but Lehigh answered, tying things up just minutes before halftime.
Senior Brayan Martinez recorded his fifth point of the preseason with a game-winning goal in the 80 minute.
Seton Hall faced Rutgers in a scoreless draw in which the Scarlet Knights outshot the Pirates 9-5.
The Hall started off the exhibition season by beating Stony Brook 3-1 on August 22, with two goals from senior Samuel Petrone.
Freshman Christian Battistesa also scored late for the Pirates in their victory against the Seawolves.
Battistesa is part of a promising recruiting class that head coach Manny Schellscheidt put together. Local products Kevin Bonder and Max Garcia will also complete for playing time in their first season on a team that features 10 senior players.
The Pirates look to return to the Big East Championship tournament this year, where they have not been since the 2007-08 season.
Their 1-7-3 conference record placed them seventh out of eighth in the Blue Division last year, finishing just above Pittsburgh.
The Hall’s top three goal scorers from last season, Andrew Welker, Dritan Sela and Martinez, will be playing their last seasons in a Pirates uniforms.
Welker enjoyed a strong campaign last year, leading the team with eight goals and three assists, which tied him for second on the squad.
The Pirates will be joined by a familiar face on the sidelines this season. Kobie Johnson, a former Seton Hall soccer standout, will join the team as a volunteer assistant coach.
He started for the Pirates all four years that he attended the University and even received Male Athlete of the Year for the 1998-99 season.
Prior to this season, he had spent the last two years coaching and training the Pasco/N.J. Stallions U-15 to U-17 girls and boys teams in Clifton, NJ. Johnson also has professional playing experience, serving seven years in Germany for the Karlsuhe SC and SV Kuppenheim.
The Pirates schedule this year does not provide an easy start on the road to a Big East Championship berth.
They will travel to North Carolina to take on national powers Wake Forest and the University of North Carolina in the Carolina-Wake Forest Nike Classic. The two host schools are ranked 3rd and 4th in the national preseason rankings, respectively.
“It’s a big fish to fry, right off the bat,” Coach Schellscheidt said last year. “I want the players to get into very good games, because when they leave Seton Hall, they’ll remember who they played against, and the type of games they played in for the rest of their lives.”
Seton Hall’s first home game will take place on Friday, September 10th, when Boston College comes to South Orange. The Pirates first Big East action will come at home against Pittsburgh on October 2nd.
David Rind can be reached at email@example.com.