The road woes for Seton Hall’s men’s soccer team continued tonight as the Pirates fell to Xavier 2-1. Carlton McKenzie provided the only goal of the night with a spectacular shot in the 69th minute and the Pirates had numerous other chances throughout the game but it wasn’t enough to surpass the Musketeers. The loss is the second in a row for the Pirates following a 4-0 setback to Butler on October 19 and continues the road struggles the team has experienced this season. Seton Hall is 1-6 away from South Orange and 4-1 at home.
McKenzie was a force throughout the game, using his speed to give Xavier’s defense fits. The first half was played at a fast tempo, with both teams creating numerous chances. The Pirates tallied 8 shots on goal in the first half, including four from McKenzie, but Xavier goalie Matt Rosenberg stepped up with three saves. McKenzie was relentless in the first half, peppering the goal with shots and having his run stopped only once by a fierce Xavier slide tackle. Goalkeeper Andres Nota’s four saves were another factor in keeping the game 0-0 at the half.
Xavier controlled possession early in the second half and got on the scoreboard first when Samson Sergi headed in a beautiful high service ball from Derrick Otim in the 46th minute. Xavier’s offensive onslaught continued with multiple shots from Sergi in the ensuing minutes and the Musketeers’ run of possession culminated in a 66th minute goal from Noah Boffo. Boffo was in the right place at the right time to put in a rebound and score after a Mitchell Henderlong shot was saved by Andres Nota.
Faced with a 2-0 deficit, Seton Hall didn’t roll over and die, but in fact did the opposite and came back swinging. A key moment came in the 67th minute as an Alex Pozesky shot was saved by Rosenberg and Andrea Borg saw what every soccer player dreams of: an empty net. Borg took his shot but Xavier defender Taylor Crull knocked the ball away. In hindsight, this was the game’s biggest moment because of what happened two minutes later: an McKenzie goal on a header after an attempted clearance by a Xavier defender that cut the lead to 2-1.
In the matches’ final moments, Seton Hall had two shots within range of the goal from Eden O’Leary and Tremonti but the second half ultimately proved to be too little too late. The Pirates return to the friendly confines of Owen T. Carroll field for a matchup with St. John’s on October 26.
Matthew Collins can be reached at email@example.com.