The Seton Hall men’s soccer team (3-7-1) suffered yet another defeat, this time at the hands of in-state rival Princeton (5-3-1). However, the 3-1 score did not reflect the Pirates’ performance. The Pirates owned possession for multiple stretches and created several chances. They managed to take 13 shots, the same amount as Princeton. However, the Pirates forgot their finishing boots. Their one goal was the only shot they had on target.
Following a four-game losing streak, the Pirates won 2-0 at home over Marquette last Saturday, Oct. 1.
They carried that momentum into this game, coming out strong in the first half. They led early after freshman forward Jonathan Jimenez connected with Mario Prata in the third minute on a beautiful cross into the box that Prata finished smoothly. The Pirates were able to build momentum off their goal and dominated possession through the early stages of the first half. Prata almost gave his team a second goal after hitting the post on a powerful shot from the top of the box. Princeton was not silent however, and slowly started to work themselves into the game. By the end of the half, they were evenly splitting possession in what looked like was going to be a tight game.
The second half was a different story. Princeton came out aggressively and earned themselves a penalty kick three minutes into the half after a Seton Hall defender’s sloppy tackle inside the box. The Tigers’ leading scorer, Greg Seifert, converted from the spot. Princeton continued to press with aggressiveness, not giving the Pirates any space to maneuver. Less than 10 minutes later, Seifert drilled a free kick from 25 yards out to take control of the game. Pirate coach Gerson Echeverry was not pleased with his team’s second half start.
“We did not come out as sharp as we needed to,” Echeverry. “We gave up the ball at some crucial times and it cost us.”
The Pirates did not back down despite the sudden lead change. The Seton Hall midfield worked hard to control possession and build some momentum, attempting to give the Pirates life. Sophomore Francisco Alderete was able to make a clever run into box, but once again the Pirates hit the post. Echeverry was encouraged to see his team respond in such a way.
“They showed some character there pushing the game back, it is just unfortunate we could not get the equalizer,” Echeverry said. “The kids battled and showed that they are not going to just roll over and I love that fighting spirit that these guys have.”
The Pirates will resume Big East play when they travel to Depaul this Saturday, Oct. 8.
Andrew Lombardo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Anlombardo8.