Junior ties assist record
Junior Ashley Clarke wrote her name into the women’s soccer record book this season. Clarke tied Seton Hall Athletics Hall of Famer Kelly Smith’s single-season assist record, accumulating eight assists during 19 games this season.
Smith set this record in her junior year during the 1998-99 season.
“Once I realized I was in reach of the record, I really tried to push myself,” Clarke said.
Clarke tied the assists record in Seton Hall’s 3-1 victory over Cincinnati, where she had two assists, leaving her with two games to beat the record.
The assisted goals were put in by senior Stephanie Soma and junior Kaitlyn Ritter. Clarke recorded the first goal in that game.
“It is a great achievement that I didn’t think I could ever do,” Clarke said. “It’s just great that I made it and I could keep something like this going.”
After the victory over Cincinnati, Clarke was named the shupirates.com Athlete of the Week for the week of Oct. 16.
The Pirates were shut out in their final two games, first by Louisville and then Rutgers, leaving her tied for the record.
“Regardless of what happened with me not actually breaking the record, I’m very honored that I tied her record,” Clarke said. “She is such a role model for everyone involved in Seton Hall soccer and just to have my name next to her is a big deal.”
Clarke said she made being an active leader on the team one of her major focuses for the season and felt her team’s responsiveness to her really helped her season be such a success.
“I really wanted to be more involved with my team this year and more present in the Big East,” Clarke said.
Clarke earned a spot on the Big East Weekly Honor Roll the week of Sept. 3 after netting the game winner in overtime against Delaware.
She finished the season with three goals and eight assists.
Smith was a striker for Great Britain in the 2012 Olympics in London. She also competed in the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup in China representing Great Britain, where she earned two Player of the Match awards throughout tournament play.
Smith plays for the Arsenal Ladies team for her second stint for the club. In her first stint with the team, Smith won 11 trophies at Arsenal and scored 100 goals in just 112 appearances.
At Seton Hall, Smith became the first All-American in the history of the women’s soccer program after tallying a school record 76 goals and 174 points in 51 matches. Smith was also the first non-basketball player to have her number retired by Seton Hall.
Next year, Clarke said, beating her own record will “definitely will be” one of her goals for the season.
After failing to make the Big East Championship, the Pirates will head into the offseason.
Stephanie Vedral can be reached at Stephanie.Vedral@ student.shu.edu.