Women’s soccer looks to 2018 with eye on young talent

The Seton Hall women’s soccer team completed its season at home on Oct. 26, losing to Marquette by a final score of 2-0. The Pirates finished the year with a 0-12-5 record overall and a 0-6-3 record in the Big East.

Despite not achieving the success the Pirates and head coach Rick Stainton would have preferred this season, the team still had some bright spots.

Photo via SHU Athletics

Two of those came when the Pirates kicked off Big East play with two hard-fought draws against DePaul and Butler, the latter of whom would go on to finish second in the Big East.

Although the Pirates were unable to pick up a win in conference play, the team was competitive in nearly every game, something Stainton took away as a positive from the season.

“We did have many successes this year. It might not have come in the win column, but we’ve developed, become more competitive, and closed the gap on our opponents,” Stainton said.

One of those gaps closed between Seton Hall and its opponents was the goal differential in Big East play. Even though the team finished with the same amount of points in-conference as last season, the Hall’s goal differential in 2017 improved by five in the one-year span.

“We showed ourselves this year that we are capable of winning,” Stainton said. “Now for us it’s about sustaining our play and becoming more consistent while capitalizing when we can.”

A big factor in Seton Hall’s ability to improve next year will be the return of a large underclassmen group that includes 10 freshmen. One of these freshmen is midfielder Cassy Harrigan who played a major role of the offensive end for the Pirates, providing valuable minutes and tying for the team lead in goals (2).

“I think the playing time some of us were able to get helped us learn from this year and let us know what we need to improve on,” Harrigan said. “We became better and learned from each game. With a year down, we now know how to compete in the Big East.”

When looking towards next season, Harrigan feels another offseason and training camp with her teammates can only help better the team.

“Next year is exciting because we’re all so much closer now than when we came in,” Harrigan said.”When you first get here, it’s a new environment. Sometimes I don’t know what a teammate is thinking because I don’t have as much experience with them,” Harrigan said.

“Learning to play with every player has been important in our growth.”

Stainton shares Harrigan’s optimism heading into 2018 with another year of familiarity between the younger players.

“A lot of our underclassmen got some valuable time in some critical moments so that should let them know what they need to improve on in the offseason,” Stainton said. “Ultimately, hopefully it will help us change some of these losses into wins.”

One aspect of their game the Pirates will look to carry into next season is the team’s hard-working attitude. To the team, that is the first step for the success making its way to the record books.

“Each game we put in so much effort and even though the scores didn’t end up how we wanted them to, the effort we put into each game was incredible,” Harrigan said.

For Stainton and his team, the future is bright. Their ability to improve will depend on forming and improving the chemistry amongst the underclassmen and growing within the program. As the chemistry improves, their play will only get better, inevitably leading to more wins.

Still, what the team left on the field this season is worthy of remembrance as well.

“I like where we’re going, but I’m also proud of what we’ve done,” Stainton said.

Nick Santoriello can be reached at nicholas.santoriello@student.shu.edu or on Twitter @NickSantoriello.