The Seton Hall men’s soccer team was defeated by the No. 21 Butler Bulldogs on Wednesday evening by a score of 2-0.
Butler maintained possession for much of the first half, calmly distributing the ball in the Seton Hall half of the field. The Pirates tried to capitalize on many counter-attacks and drew fouls to set up scoring opportunities from set pieces throughout the opening 45 minutes.
Jonathan Jimenez had a particularly close chance at scoring early in the game. Jimenez dribbled down the field into a one-on-two and isolated one of the Butler defenders with a stepover move. Jimenez then shot low with a left-footed strike that was aimed at the middle of the goal, but the Butler goalkeeper saved his attempt that was aimed to break the deadlock.
Towards the middle of the first half, the Hall made a costly turnover that resulted in a penalty. As Seton Hall gained the ball back, Butler intercepted it and went towards the 18-yard box. A pass inside the box forced Pirates defender Lukas Pangonis to react, and Pangonis inadvertently tripped up one of the Bulldogs’ player. Seton Hall goalkeeper Peyton Elder guessed the right way with his dive, but his outstretched hands could not reach the ball that was aimed at the far right corner by Bulldogs midfielder Lewis Suddick.
In the second half, the Pirates were able to establish more control of the possession as they found themselves playing with more desperation.
Butler, meanwhile, maintained good ball movement as they looked to push for another goal in the second half. Not far from the Pirates’ penalty area in the 50th minute, Butler midfielder Isaac Galliford blasted a left-footed shot to the left side of the goal, with the powerful attempt outside of Elder’s reach.
Seton Hall had chances later on, as it took a quick corner kick which led to a shot by Francisco Alderete that crossed across the front of the goal-line, with no Pirates attacker able to get the decisive touch and the head official ruling it a no-goal. Moments later, the Pirates attacked again and seemed to have a chance at a penalty, which Andres Veizaga dribbled inside the box and crossed it off a Butler defender, but the referee found the Bulldogs player to have made no contact with his hand.
Coach Gerson Echeverry thought the team fought hard in the game, despite falling to one of the premier sides in the conference.
“There were times defensively where we did well, we battled,” Echeverry said. “It’s just the final pass; the end product. We got on the offensive third; we just have to work on the final pass, the final shot.”
Up next for the Pirates is a road match as they travel to Cincinnati, Ohio to take on Xavier, this Saturday, Oct. 28 at 7 p.m. That game will have huge postseason implications, and if the Pirates manage a road win, the program will have one of the biggest games in the last few seasons at home on Wednesday, Nov. 1, against Villanova.
Evando Thompson can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @Thompsev.