The Seton Hall Pirates women’s soccer team won its home opener on Monday, narrowly edging out the Qunnipiac Bobcats in a 2-1 game under the lights at Owen T. Carroll Field.
The Pirates had plenty of offensive opportunities in the first half, but Quinnipiac struck first 14 minutes into the game. After a foul just outside of the box, senior midfielder Kelly Caruso drove a free kick into the net from 22 yards out, her first goal of the year, to go up on the Pirates 1-0.
The Bobcats would not hold on to this lead for long, as the Pirates scored the equalizer just four minutes after Caruso’s goal. Senior midfielder and captain Frankie Maier delivered a precise corner kick into freshman forward Marissa Aniolowski, who headed the ball in from the far post to tie the game up.
In the 36th minute, Seton Hall took the lead when Maier drilled a free kick into the left side of the net. The Pirates had two attackers lined up in front of Maier who both faked taking the free kick and allowed her to score, giving the Pirates a lead of one before the half ended.
Seton Hall dominated possession for the majority of the second half, reaching the offensive zone numerous times and preventing Quinnipiac from successfully attacking. The Bobcats finally managed to get through the Pirates’ defense in the last ten minutes, but Seton Hall held firm and staved off Quinnipiac’s attack.
Seton Hall’s defense battled with a very physical Quinnipiac team for all 90 minutes.
“We certainly expected them to play as tough and rough as they did, and we really focused on trying to take care of the ball and our possession as best as we can,” head coach Rick Stainton said after the game. “As we fatigued a bit, we weren’t making good decisions to get the ball off our foot quickly and that’s what resulted in some tackles that went against us.”
The team’s attack was led by Pirate captain Maier, who had an excellent game and finished with one assist and one goal on four shots.
“Frankie is our engine, and it’s no secret,” Stainton said. “The girl can go 90 minutes every single game, she goes box to box, she’s influential on both ends of the ball for us, and again she proved it. That’s why she’s the leader of this team, that’s why she’s the captain. She’s super motivated herself, and she makes a tremendous impact for us.”
The Pirates improve to 2-1-0 on the season, while Quinnipiac falls to 2-1-1. Seton Hall will resume action on Thurs., Sept. 1, when they host the Fordham Rams in the second of a three-game home stand.
Matt Lapolla can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Lapollarbear.