The Seton Hall men’s soccer team defeated DePaul 2-1 on Saturday night in a nail biter decided by Stephen Elias’ 85th minute goal.
Elias, the leading goal scorer and captain for the Pirates, notched his fourth of the season when he was the first to react to the second bounce off a corner kick.
“Those second balls are the most dangerous balls in soccer,” Elias said. “That’s when the team shut off right there and then. The ball back in and going up for a header with keeper. I was lucky that it bounced and as soon as it did, I was swinging for it.”
Both sides possessed the ball evently in the first half and generated many scoring chances. The Pirates eventually broke the deadlock when head coach Andreas Lindberg subbed in last year’s leading goal scorer, C.J. Tibbling, along with Carlton McKenzie.
McKenzie received a ball on the left wing and took a few dribbles inside the 18-yard box that force DePaul to react. The Birmingham, England native drew the penalty and Tibbling capitalized. The sophomore forward powered a right-footed boot into the corner of the goal minutes after being subbed on.
The Pirates did, however, let up a goal just before halftime.
A DePaul attacker was left unmarked and capitalized on a shot just a few feet away from goal, leaving goalkeeper Andreas Nota little time to react.
“When you have players of that caliber on the bench, you just put ‘em in there and kind of let the dogs loose,” Lindberg said. “It took 20 seconds after the sub and that’s what both of them do; they have a presence and athleticism that we’re lacking without them.”
To close out the game, the Blue Demons paced up the field and sent the ball inside the 18-yard box, an attacker colliding with Nota. Nota came out of the skirmish unscathed but had a noticeable limp as time expired.
Lindberg was happy that his team was able to come out with the win and a very chippy second half.
“It doesn’t really matter how it looks; I am disappointed at how we played at times but also pleased with the three points,” Lindberg said. “We can play like this if we win all the games, I don’t care. I don’t think we played great. We did really well but there’s certainly other time we have to do more to improve.”
Up next for the Pirates is another home game as they look for their third straight win and get back to .500, 4-4, when they take on Creighton on Saturday. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. The Blue Jays are the defending Big East champions, but the hope is that Seton Hall can ride the momentum of its first home win of the season to a massive Big East upset to keep the good times rolling.
Evando Thompson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Find him on Twitter @ethmps.