Men’s soccer on verge of worst season
Two games remain on the Pirates’ schedule and they have a chance to make the wrong kind of history. If they lose to No.5 Connecticut and No. 14 Notre Dame, this year’s men’s soccer team will be the first in school history to lose every game in Big East play.
“There is no pressure anymore,” head coach Manfred Schellscheidt said. “If we think we are under pressure we are only kidding ourselves.”
Currently the Hall is 0-7-0 in conference play, following a 2-0 loss at home to West Virginia on Wednesday night. The loss extends their losing streak to seven games, while being outscored 26-5 during that stretch.
“Losing wears on you,” Schellscheidt said.
Last year, the team set the new school record for worst conference record after going 1-8-0. However, with two ranked opponents left on the schedule, it seems likely that this year’s team could finish without a win.
The Pirates first play No. 5 Connecticut in the home finale on Saturday. The Huskies enter the game with a 5-1-2 record in the Big East and 14-1-2 overall.
“Now is the time to make an investment in ourselves,” Schellscheidt said. “Play as hard as we can every single time in games and in training.”
For the last eight weeks of the NSCAA poll, Connecticut has been ranked No. 1 in the country, but a 2-0 loss to West Virginia and a 0-0 draw with Georgetown last week, dropped the Huskies from the top spot.
All season Connecticut has been led by the best goalkeeper in the Big East. Freshman Andre Blake leads the conference with a .922 save percentage, with 11 shutouts in 16 starts this season.
Last season when the Hall played the Huskies on the road, Connecticut came away with a 4-0 victory. The Huskies started the scoring in the 23rd minute with a goal from Tony Cascio and added a second goal 25 seconds later off the foot of Stephane Diop. By halftime, Connecticut had taken a 4-0 lead.
All-time, the Pirates are 12-13-3 versus the Huskies. However, Connecticut has won the last five meetings between the two teams. The last time the Pirates came away with a win was in 2005 with a 1-0 decision.
“We are improving,” Schellscheidt said. “We have seen improvement but we aren’t there yet.”
The final game of the Hall’s season will be on the road against No. 14 Notre Dame in a makeup of the Oct. 19 match, which was rained out. The Fighting Irish have a 7-3-4 overall record and a 3-2-1 record in Big East play.
Notre Dame despite already clinching a spot in the Big East Tournament, would need a victory against the Pirates in order to improve their final seeding.
As of Wednesday night, Notre Dame is tied for the fifth seed and has a chance at earning the fourth seed.
Last season, the Fighting Irish handed the Hall a 2-1 loss at Owen T. Carroll field, dropping the Pirates all-time record versus Notre Dame to 4-12-3.
“Hopefully we are laying the ground work for something better to come,” Schellscheidt said. “We still believe that the young players especially what the freshman have to offer.”
Steve Valenti can be reached at email@example.com.