With college soccer in full swing across the country, Seton Hall is looking to kick start its 2019 Big East campaign with a win over Providence on Sept. 20.
Recent history favorites the Friars in this match up as the Rhode Island side have not lost to the Pirates since the 2012 season. Providence has dominated Seton Hall by an aggregate score of 16-2 over the last six years, with last year’s double overtime victory at Owen T. Carroll field being one of the most difficult matches against the Pirates in that time. The Pirates will hope to return the favor in Rhode Island on Friday.
Providence’s core group from last season returns, including top scorer Tiago Mendonca and Big East All-Freshman team member Ramzi Qawasmy. The Friars will take the field with a three-man back line led by Qawasmy in order to make the most of their creative and offensive firepower further up the field.
Redshirt senior and former University of Connecticut goalkeeper Austin Aviza will be one of the few new faces after transferring to Providence this year. The loss of 2018 Goalkeeper of the Year Colin Miller might cause a few hiccups for the Friars and presents an opportunity for the Pirates to take advantage. But the Hall will need to be much more clinical than in their recent matches.
Seton Hall has suffered three straight losses entering Friday’s match, while Providence is coming off two wins over Sacred Heart University and Harvard University. Vittorio Argeri and Eden O’Leary have been two of the Pirates’ bright spots, along with Stephen Elias in the offensive third. Argeri is the only Pirate to score a goal after Seton Hall’s 6-0 victory over Central Connecticut Univeristy after converting his penlaty kick against Florida International.
Andreas Nota will undoubtedly be called upon multiple times as well to stop Providence from finishing off its own chances. The Italian shot-stopper’s performance between the sticks could provide the confidence and inspiration needed for his teammates further up the field to put out an equally strong performance.
However, Andreas Lindberg’s side will have the advantage of being relatively unknown to Providence. The influx of freshmen and transfer players into the starting lineup will poise a new challenge for Providence to overcome on Friday night. On top of their own variation of a three-man back line, the Pirates might be able to turn the tide by catching their opponents off guard should they rediscover their finishing touch in front of net and lockdown their back line.
This early clash with a Big East giant should be a good barometer of how this new look Seton Hall team will handle the strenuous season to come. For many of the new players, this challenge will serve as the perfect introduction to Big East soccer and the competitiveness of the conference as a whole.
A difficult test against a strong Friars side will push Coach Lindberg’s young team to their limits and highlight the Pirates’ true strengths and weaknesses.
Justin Sousa can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Find him on Twitter @JustinSousa99.