This week, and for the second time this season, Seton Hall men’s soccer goalkeeper Andreas Nota has been named to the Big East Weekly Honor Roll.
The native of Rome, Italy has been stellar so far this season for the Pirates. He has started each of the team’s eight games, and he has proven himself to be the backbone of a starkly-improved defense.
Nota, a sophomore by eligibility, played his first year for Campbellsville University in Kentucky. Still transitioning to a North American style of play, Nota had time to hone his skills at Campbellsville before jumping over to the Big East.
“In the United States, the level is way higher,” Nota said. “The biggest difference this year, every team we play against is a competitive game. It is always decided by episodes.”
Since joining Seton Hall, Nota has been spectacular. On a Pirates team that is on pace for its first winning season in over a decade, Nota has been the key to the team’s success.
On Sept. 29., he and the team took 9th-ranked Creighton, to the brink before losing, 1-0. In the match, Nota recorded six saves, stopping all the shots thrown his way until an 84th minute stunner by the Bluejays.
In total, Creighton fired 22 shots at or around the net in the match. Although it seems like a heavy workload, both mentally and physically, for a goalkeeper like Nota, it is something that he prefers in order to stay on his toes and in the action.
“Compared to Italy, I usually received only one or two shots in a game, sometimes not any,” Nota said. ”I think it was a little more difficult. When you are not in the game for most of the time, you must be prepared for the one shot that comes. It becomes more difficult.”
Understandably, the Pirates’ goalkeeper would rather see his teammates at the other end of the pitch, firing shots on the opposing netminder. Nota has understood the mentality that his head coach, Andreas Lindberg, has put forth, which emphasizes working together as a team, achieving common goals, and winning at any cost.
“I prefer myself this year because I can be more helpful for the team,” Nota said. “I feel very appreciative for the team always, and that I can help them in goal.”
Nota has also thoroughly enjoyed playing under Lindberg’s defensive system, which has turned the team in a completely new direction.
“I think that the defense is working hard. Everyone sees we are a competent team,” Nota said. “The biggest difference is that the team works together. That is the most important thing. Everyone helps each other. If there is a mistake, there is someone there to recover.”
Nota is grateful for the opportunities the Big East has given him, especially the honors that he has received, but he understands that there are bigger challenges and matches awaiting the team in the coming weeks.
“Personal achievements are always a pleasure to receive, especially because it’s my first year in the Big East,” Nota said. “I saw that the Big East conference is very competitive, so it is a pleasure to receive those honors because it shows all the hard work I put in every day.”
The Pirates continue with conference play on Oct. 6 against DePaul. With only seven regular season games left, it is crunch time for Nota, Lindberg and the team to solidify the season as a successful one.
Kevin Kopf can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @KMKTNF.