Women’s soccer heads to Philadelphia for tournament
Coming off an almost historic start to their season, the women’s soccer team heads to Philadelphia to compete in the Villanova Tournament, with matches against LaSalle and William &Mary.
The Pirates (5-1-0) are coming off a 1-1 week capped by a 0-1 road loss to the Army Black Knights on Monday night. Before the loss, the Pirates recorded five straight victories, which is good enough for the second strongest start in program history.
The Pirates fell behind early to the University of Delaware Blue Hens on Friday, but overcame the deficit with two unanswered goals, with the deciding goal coming in overtime off the foot of junior midfielder Ashley Clarke off a rebound.
Head coach Kazbek Tambi said the win over Delaware was huge for the Pirates.
“We’re excited,” Tambi said. “This was probably our toughest test so far.”
Defense has been key for the Pirates in the early going, as the team shut out opponents in four straight games to begin their season. In total the team has allowed only two goals in six games.
Their work has not gone unnoticed as three players have been selected to Big East honors. This week Clarke and senior defender Taylor Mims were selected to the Big East Honor Roll and last week freshman defender D’Yonna Riley was selected as Defensive Player of the Big East.
The Pirates have played aggressively in all their games, as Mims and Riley will sometimes dribble the ball up the field and try to score a goal.
Tambi said the team welcomes the aggressive style, as long as the other players are aware of the missing defenders.
“We opened up the door to anybody that would like to go up at a given moment to help us get a goal to go for it,” Tambi said. “And obviously as they go others are supposed to cover.”
Tambi also said the team aims to score a goal by any means necessary.
“We do play a pretty open style of game,” Tambi said. “We give everybody the green light if they think it’s the right time.”
The Pirates will look to bring their “open style of game” to the tournament, drawing the LaSalle University Explorers in their first match at 7 p.m. on Friday.
The Explorers enter the tournament on a two game losing streak with a record of 2-2. To their credit, the Explorers pulled out a win over a ranked opponent in No. 20 West Virginia, however, LaSalle has not scored in two straight matches, losing by scores of 0-2 and 0-3.
LaSalle offers a balanced attack, similar to the Pirates, as four different players have recorded a goal this season.
Seton Hall holds the all-time advantage over the Explorers 6-2-2. The last regular season meeting resulted in a 1-1 tie on Aug. 29, 2003. According to the LaSalle University record book, the teams have never met at a neutral site.
On Sunday, the Pirates will face the College of William & Mary Tribe.
The Tribe is led by Mallory Schaffer, who has scored four goals in five games this season. History does not bode well for the Pirates as the Tribe won the only meeting between the two teams in a 3-0 shutout in 2000.
The Pirates open the Villanova Tournament against LaSalle University at 7 p.m. on Friday and finish against the College of William & Mary on Sunday at 1:30 p.m.
Thomas Brennan can be reached at Thomas.firstname.lastname@example.org.