Pirates face George Mason after ‘heartbreaking’ losses
Amanda Boyer/Photography Editor
After coming off two straight losses, the Seton Hall men’s soccer team (1-2-1) will be looking for a win when they take on George Mason University on Friday.
The Patriots (5-0), who were previously listed as the No. 22 team in the country, jumped up to No. 18 in Tuesday’s latest NSCAA Division I rankings following recent wins against Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Hartwick.
The Pirates meanwhile are coming off back-to-back losses to Delaware and Princeton.
With a 2-1 lead and 28 minutes left to play, the Pirates failed to hang on to the lead last Wednesday, falling to the Blue Hens by a 3-2 final, despite goals from midfielders Victor Manosalvas and Kai Greene. Delaware, the No. 21 team in the country, won on a goal from junior Joe Dipre with 17 minutes left to play.
On Sunday, Seton Hall battled Princeton in the first of a three-game home stand that turned into a shootout. The Pirates lost 5-4 in a game that saw the two teams trade goals, then with 28 seconds left, Princeton’s Julian Griggs found the back of the net, sealing the game for the Tigers. Manosalvas had two goals for The Hall, while Greene and Mateusz Brela each netted one of their own.
“It’s pretty tough,” Manosalvas said of the losses. “We have to stay focused for the whole game and that is what we are going to work on.”
Head coach Gerson Echeverry was frustrated, suggesting his players needed to focus more.
“There were two games where we had the lead and unfortunately we gave up some silly goals,” he said. “Both games there were just heartbreaking goals, silly mistakes and a lack of concentration that cost us.”
While their record may not show it, the Pirates offense has been on a roll, scoring six goals in those two games. Greene has scored three goals this year while Manosalvas has four of his own.
“Kai has been good for us,” Manosalvas said when talking about the offense. “It benefits the team and it benefits me.”
“There is trust,” Echeverry said. “We’re using each other and the combinations have been pretty good. The composure in front of the box has been very, very good.”
With three goals in two games, Manosalvas was named the Big East Conference Offensive Player of the week on Monday. He has already broken his season-high record for goals, surpassing the three scores he had as a freshman. After missing the entire 2012 season with a torn ACL, the red shirt senior served as the team’s top facilitator in 2013, leading the Pirates with five assists.
“I’m just trying to get in the box, trying to score some goals,” Manosalvas said. “Last year I had the most assists on the team but I didn’t have any goals. This year I’ve focused on knowing when to crash the box and knowing when to be there. Lately, it’s been working.”
Gary Phillips can be reached at email@example.com or on twitter @GPhillips2727.