Sentimental ending coming for Clarke
Senior forward Ashley Clarke may go down as one of the top women’s soccer players in Seton Hall history.
Clarke was a solid contributor for the women’s soccer team in her first two seasons, scoring two goals and tallying two assists in both 2010 and 2011.
But Clarke burst onto the scene for her junior season, leading the Pirates with 14 points.
Clarke scored three goals and recorded eight assists, tying the single-season assist record previously held by Seton Hall Athletics Hall of Famer and arguably the best women’s soccer player to ever don a Pirate uniform, Kelly Smith.
Clarke had no intentions of slowing down, as she is in the midst of a similar season in her senior year.
The forward has racked up three goals and seven assists, putting her two goals away from breaking her own record.
“Hopefully I beat the record,” Clarke said. “If not, just being able to tie it with one of the best players here is big.”
The team’s in-house competition is what Clarke said pushed her to become a bigger contributor to the team.
“I guess I’ve improved technically and as an overall player,” Clarke said. “Just being around this competitive atmosphere and having to perform every day and every game.”
Even if Clarke doesn’t break the record, she’ll still be one of the most accomplished women’s soccer players in school history.
Her 19 career assists is the second-most all-time in school history, again behind Smith’s 22. Clarke’s 39 career points is sixth in school history.
Before this season, Clarke wasn’t in the top-10.
A match on Saturday against Georgetown stands in the way of Clarke capturing the record, in what also may end up being the final game for Clarke should her team fail to make the Big East Tournament.
“Obviously it’s going to be bittersweet,” Clarke said. “I’ll be very upset when it’s over because I’ve had a lot of fun the last four years, but there also comes a time where it’s the next chapter of your life.”
In Clarke’s final home game, a 5-0 defeat over Villanova on Senior Day, three goals came from seniors, with Katie Ritter, Brittney Albrecht and Clarke all finding the back of the net.
Clarke said that in all of her four seasons playing, that game against Villanova was the most memorable moment in her career.
As for other career ventures, the business marketing major said she sees a career in the sports field, whether it’s working for a sport’s franchise or even coaching the game.
However, a major goal for Clarke is to continue playing soccer.
“I’m trying to get drafted,” she said. “Either I go overseas or I try and get drafted to play here.”
Whether a career in soccer is in the cards for Clarke has yet to be determined, but Clarke said there’s one lesson learned from the soccer field that she’ll take with her.
“(I learned) hard work and teamwork,” Clarke said. “What you put in is what you get out. Every day you have to work harder…to get the results you want.”
T.J. Brennan can be reached at email@example.com.