Seton Hall women’s soccer (3-7-3) will look to build off of the momentum from Amanda Gulli’s goal against Creighton last weekend when they take on Xavier (3-9-2) on Sunday, Oct. 12.
Traveling to Omaha for the first time, the Pirates drew with the Bluejays when the junior drilled a penalty kick in the 54th minute of play on Sunday, Oct. 5. The goal ended a streak of three straight losses and three straight shutouts for the Hall.
“Honestly, it’s a huge relief not only for myself but also for the team because it just shows how all of our hard work and effort during practice is starting to come to fruition,” Gulli said of the goal.
Previously, the Pirates had fallen consecutively to Providence and Butler on the road and then to DePaul at Owen T. Carroll Field. The tie against Creighton notched Seton Hall’s first point of Big East play this season.
Sophomore goalkeeper Illissa Blackshear had a busy day in net, matching her career-best with eight saves. Heading into the day, Creighton had been averaging two goals per game. Their one goal came from Ylenia Sachau from the penalty spot shortly after Gulli’s score.
“I’m really just trying to do everything possible to keep my team in the game,” the West Orange, N.J. keeper said. “I have many roles on this team, but the big one is to keep the ball out of the net. It’s all about staying focused.”
Blackshear finished the week with 10 saves and two goals allowed going back to the Pirates’ game against DePaul.
The tie also kept the Hall undefeated in overtime this season (1-0-3), having beaten Army and tying with Princeton, Columbia and the Jays.
“It shows a lot about our character, it shows that we don’t want to lose,” Blackshear said of the feat. “We’ll fight to the end and put up a good one. It just shows that we’re a very tough team to beat no matter what. It’s important for us to keep fighting.”
Now, she and her team will prepare to defend the net against an Xavier team that has failed to score in their last seven contests. Furthermore, the Musketeers are winless in their last eight games, going 0-6-2.
“After this tie against Creighton it’s a confidence booster,’ Blackshear said. “We both haven’t won a game yet in the Big East and we’re not going to underestimate them. It’s the same outlook we took when we played LIU when they had not won a game yet.”
“We tend to not pay attention to opponents records, but the team is confident in ourselves, which is all that we care about,” Gulli added. “We need to focus on ourselves to receive the results that we are looking for.”
As for the actual preparation, head coach Rick Stainton is making sure the team’s head is in the right place. Other than that, they are going about work as usual.
“Rick has us staying focused mentally,” Blackshear said. “We’re going to work on possession like we’ve always worked on. Also, staying balanced on defense, that’s key. We have one of the top defenses in the Big East.”
On Sunday, the blue and white, who will be dressed in pink for breast cancer awareness, will put that defense to the test when they host Xavier. The game is set to start at 1 p.m.
Gary Phillips can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter @GPhillips2727.