Velasquez nets victory
The Men’s soccer won Wednesday night’s match against Providence by a score of 2-1. In their first match since their 0-1 loss to Syracuse on Sept. 22.
The win was the Pirates (5- 5, 1-1) first in Big East play as well as the first Big East win for first-year head coach Gerson Echeverry. “It was a great win,” Echeverry said. “Not just for me, but for the group. It was good for the team to get a win under their belt and start believing in what we are trying to do.”
Echeverry made the decision to rest redshirt senior goalkeeper Michael Kuzan, who was named last week’s Big East Goalkeeper of the Week. Echeverry started junior Kevin Bonder, who made two saves in a shutout of No. 19 Monmouth last month, Seton Hall’s first win against a ranked opponent this season.
“The two guys are working very hard,” Echeverry said, “We’ve got a good battle going between them.”
The Pirates entered halftime with a 1-0 lead on the strength of junior Christian Battistesa’s goal. Battistesa received a pass from junior George Velasquez, streaked up the middle and put one low past Providence goalie Keasel Broome.
The Hall squandered a few opportunities to score throughout the first half, including Velasquez’s pass to Battistesa in the 26th minute that sprung a breakaway. This opportunity was lost when Battistesa’s crossing pass to junior Max Garcia went out of bounds.
The Friars kept the ball in the Pirates defensive zone in the second half, forcing the Hall to stay tight on defense.
In the 57th minute the Pirates allowed the equalizing goal when Providence forward Keith Jecewiz slammed home a top-shelf goal from the top of the box. Bonder was then forced to make another key save just three minutes later.
“We didn’t get our heads down when we gave up the lead,” Echeverry said. “We knew we had to get right back to it.”
The Hall found their offensive game in the final 20 minutes of the match and retained the lead. Battistesa found Velasquez single-covered in the offensive zone then Velasquez freed himself, streaked up the right side and took a chip shot that made it past Broome in the 74th minute of play.
“I saw a quick combination start,” Velasquez said. “I made a quick bending run to set myself up for the goal.”
Velasquez finished the game with a goal and an assist. Pirate sophomore forward Bolu Akinyode saw another scoring opportunity sail over the net in the 80th minute.
The Pirates will play their next game on Saturday in a home match with Pittsburgh at Owen T. Carroll Field.
Gerard Gilberto can be reached at Gerard.Gilberto@student.shu.edu