Georgetown forces Pirates to walk the plank
Facing their third ranked opponent in the last month, the Seton Hall men’s soccer team could not stage an upset against the No. 20 Georgetown Hoyas at Owen T. Carroll Field on Wednesday night.
The 3-1 loss to the Hoyas was the Hall’s third in a row, and fifth in their last seven games.
In the first half, the Hoyas put a lot of pressure on the Hall’s back defensive line. Georgetown controlled the tempo in the early portion of the game.
During the opening six minutes, there were two offensive chances for Georgetown, including a header by a Hoya forward that just missed the right corner of the goal.
In the eighth minute, Seton Hall freshman midfielder Damian Bziukiewicz found a sliding Jason Wellington with a long cross from the top left corner of the box to give the Pirates an early 1-0 lead on his second goal of the year.
Two minutes later, Wellington had another chance from the right side of the box but his shot missed high and to the left of the goal. One minute after that, Wellington whiffed on a shot attempt from about 10 yards out.
“They were off to a better start then us, but after that I thought we picked it up,” head coach Manny Schellscheidt said. “I thought it was a lift getting the early goal, giving us a little momentum.”
In the 19th minute, Georgetown junior midfielder Andy Riemer had a step on senior defender Joe Baker, but Baker slid in front of him and knocked the ball aside to save the scoring chance for the Hoyas and preserve the 1-0 lead.
A few minutes later, Reimer had his shot go off the cross bar, with the rebound attempt cleared out of the box by Pirate midfielder/defender Christian Battistesa.
Georgetown finally broke through in the 24th minute when freshman defender Tyler Rudy hit a cross to Riemer but missed on the initial shot. Battistesa missed a clearing attempt in front of the net that found Riemer in front, who dribbled the ball past Pirate goalkeeper Mario DeClerico.
On the next series for the Pirates, Bziukiewicz drove through the offensive zone off a Hoya turnover and nearly scored a goal of his own, but his shot missed to the left of the net.
In the 34th minutes, Hoya midfielder Steve Neumann had a chance following a long lead pass to the right of the box, but his shot tailed to the left of the goal.
On Georgetown’s next series, Neumann had another scoring chance but his header was stopped by a diving DeClerico.
Georgetown took control of the game during the final 45 minutes.
In the 52nd minute, during a skirmish in front of the Seton Hall net, Neumann put a bouncing ball past DeClerico to give the Hoyas a 2-1 lead.
Ten minutes later, Neumann had another scoring chance, but this time his shot from the right side of the box missed wide left.
Three minutes later, Neumann intercepted a bad clearing attempt by the Pirate defense and found an open Riemer to the right of the net who put it in the back of the net for an easy goal.
The Pirates had a chance late when forward Cody Hess gained control in front of the Georgetown net, but his shot was robbed by Georgetown keep Tomas Gomez in 89th minute.
The Hall played a large portion of the second half without Battistessa and midfielder Kai Greene.
According to Schellscheidt, Greene was hindered by flu-like symptoms and Battistessa had a groin issue
“They are two steady and important guys for us and that doesn’t help us either,” Schellscheidt said. “We are young already, and when these guys come out, Kai, probably for the season, has been of our better guys all around, game after game. If we lose him we are not quite the same either.”
The Pirates are now 0-2-1 against opponents who are either ranked or receiving votes in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America poll. They should have one more game against a ranked opponent when they face the current No. 1 Connecticut on Oct. 29.
“We are just trying to establish ourselves as a team,” Schellscheidt said. “It’s a rebuilding year for us, we know that. We got to a little patient with the young guys who are finding their way to the next level.”
Tim LeCras can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org