The Seton Hall men’s soccer team lost a heartbreaker tonight 1-0 to the visiting Villanova Wildcats, conceding a set piece goal in the 54th minute to Villanova’s Shane Bradley.
The loss spoils what could have been a doubly special senior night. Not only was tonight the last game at Owen T. Carroll field for the program’s eight seniors, but it had a chance to be memorable due to the fact that the Pirates could have clinched a Big East Tournament berth with a win.
The Pirates’ loss, combined with the fact that Marquette, the 6th ranked team in the conference heading into play tonight and the seventh ranked Pirates biggest challenger to be one of the six teams in postseason play, took care of business with a 1-0 win over DePaul. The last thing the Pirates could do tonight with that result in mind is lose, but unfortunately a loss was what was in the cards.
Villanova’s 1-0 triumph wasn’t without controversy and numerous missed opportunities for Seton Hall. The Pirates outshot the Wildcats 16-10 but Villanova got the edge in shots on goal 5-4. Fouls were even at 13 apiece but numerous no calls drew shouts and jeers from the shivering Pirate faithful.
The most egregious display of refereeing, or lack thereof, game in the 83rd minute when Midfielder/Forward Andrea Borg weaved his way through Nova’s back line with fancy ballhandling and appeared to be tripped, but the referee deemed it a clean play and play proceeded without a corner or free kick awarded to Seton Hall. After the no-call involving Borg, the energy of the Pirates seemed to peter out and Nova essentially ran out the clock.
Prior to Borg’s fateful run, the Pirates spent the majority of the second frame pelting the Villanova goal with shots. Sean Macleod had a point-blank shot at goal but missed to the right; CJ Tibbling narrowly missed after a wicked juke move from Carlton McKenzie provided him with an excellent opportunity.
Villanova by no means got the better of play throughout the match but struck when it mattered most. Shane Bradley headed in a corner kick from Theo Quartey in the 54th minute to give the Wildcats their “golden goal” and spoil the Pirates senior night festivities. Coach Andreas Lindberg said that conceding set piece goals has been an issue for the team throughout 2019 and that while the team made some small steps the season is ultimately a disappointing one.
On the seniors coach Andreas Lindberg said, “It’s tough to talk about them now after a heartbreaking loss like this but they were a good group. I think they’ll be leaving the program a little bit better than they found it when they came here but we still got a way to go.”
Matthew Collins can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.