Women’s soccer to play in Big East Tournament
The Seton Hall women’s soccer team faces the St. John’s Red Storm, Thursday night in the first round of the Big East Tournament. This is the team’s first postseason appearance since 1999.
The fourth-seeded Pirates will host the fifth-seed St John’s in the opening round of the Big East tournament.
The Red Storm won the regular season matchup on Oct 2, scoring the go-ahead goal in the last minute of regulation for a 2-1 victory at Owen T. Carroll Field.
Seton Hall controlled the matchup most of the way, but a late goal by the Red Storm turned what appeared to be a match headed for extra time into a tough loss.
“We played a good match, but soccer can be a cruel sport,” head coach Kazbek Tambi said. “Sometimes you are not rewarded for playing the best soccer.”
Tambi said the Big East Tournament is unchartered territory for both the players and the coaching staff.
“Before the season, the players agreed their goal was to make it to the Big East Tournament,” Tambi said. “Now, they want to take it a step further.”
Tambi said he is excited to coach in his first Big East tournament, and that he has a whole host of emotions going into the match.
“We are thrilled to be in the tournament, and the home field advantage is a tremendous bonus,” Tambi said. “Also, we have seen St. John’s already and know we can play with them, so we are coming into the match with a lot of confidence.”
The Pirates clinched the berth with a 2-2 draw against Rutgers on Oct. 21.
The Hall took a 1-0 lead just after halftime against the Scarlet Knights, when junior Stephanie Soma headed in a pass from senior Taylor Wilson in the 49th minute. But Rutgers tied the score off a corner kick by Tori Leigh in the 54th minute.
The Pirates retook the lead in the 73rd minute, as freshmen Kristina Meier connected off a corner by Wilson, but Rutgers was able to counter with an equalizing goal a minute later. Neither side was able to score before the end of double-overtime.
Rutgers outshot Seton Hall 15-12, but the Pirates held the advantage in shots on goal, 7-4. Soma and senior Caitlyn Milazzo led the Pirates with two shots on goal apiece.
The tie raised the Pirates record to 8-7-3, 4-6-1 in conference play.
Tambi was proud of his team’s performance.
“We knew going into the match that a tie or win would get us home field advantage,” Tambi said. “We tried to win, but we knew that in this case a tie was like a win.”
Tambi said the team knew there was a lot riding on the outcome of the match, but that they stayed composed and followed through with the gameplan against their rival.
The Pirates host St. John’s Thursday at 7 p.m.
Christopher Shedlock can be reached at email@example.com.