Fans are back at the Rock
On Feb. 23, Seton Hall Athletics announced that they will host fans for the men’s basketball team’s senior night this Wednesday. The Pirates will host the University of Connecticut in their final home game of the season.
It will be the first time since March 2020 that the Prudential Center has opened its seating area to fans for a Seton Hall men’s basketball game. Seniors Sandro Mamukelashvili, Myles Cale and Shavar Reynolds and graduate-transfer Bryce Aiken will be celebrated on the night as the four senior figures of the team.
The announcement came just a day after N.J. Gov. Phil Murphy announced indoor venues with a 5,000-seating capacity or more will be allowed to have 10% capacity. Outdoor venues were also announced to operate at 15% capacity beginning March 1.
Statement wins for women’s basketball
The women’s basketball team collected two big road wins last week in a record-setting night against Xavier, a professional win at Villanova and regular season-ending win at St. John’s.
Seton Hall set two program records against Xavier, including most three-point baskets made in a single game (17) and most points scored in a single game (108). Lauren Park-Lane also recorded her first career double-double with 17 points and a Seton Hall single-game record 15 assists.
The Pirates arrived at The Pavillion on Saturday night with revenge in mind given the home loss they suffered to the Wildcats back in January. They got their revenge in the end behind a brilliant defensive display by Desiree Elmore. She also recorded a double-double with a team-leading 21 points and 16 rebounds to go with four assists.
After her combined 29 points from last week, Elmore is just 12 points short of hitting 1,000 career points as a Seton Hall player. Elmore reached her overall 1,000-point milestone two weeks ago in the Pirates’ final home game of the season against Providence.
On Monday, however, Elmore surpassed that milestone in a Seton Hall jersey with her 30-point performance at St. John’s. She also put on yet another Big East Defensive Player of the Year candidate-worthy performance with nine rebounds, three blocks and two steals.
Elmore earned Big East Player of the Week honors off the back of her last three games to close out the season.
Men’s soccer still undefeated
The men’s soccer team continued their undefeated start to the season with a historic Big East opener win against St. John’s on Saturday.
Just under two minutes into the game, sophomore Paavo Riihijarvi fired a low shot into the bottom corner of St. John’s net to take a 1-0 lead over the Red Storm. The Pirates outplayed St. John’s throughout the entirety of the match, outshooting them 18-8 and keeping them to just one shot on target for the entire game. Riihijarvi’s goal proved to be the game winner as the Pirates recorded their third win of the season and third consecutive shutout.
Riihijarvi was named Big East Defensive Player of the Week and Marin was named to the Big East Honor Roll on Monday following Saturday’s big win over the Redstorm.
Since their season-opener against NJIT ended in a 3-3 draw, the Pirates have also kept clean sheets against Fairleigh Dickinson and La Salle as well as St. John’s. Their next Big East game is scheduled for Wednesday, Mar.3 when they take on the 2019 National Champions Georgetown.
Tough weekend for baseball and softball
Both the baseball and softball teams made their long awaited returns over the past two weeks with the baseball team taking on Florida Atlantic in a three-game series and the softball team heading down to South Carolina for the Gamecock Invitational.
After two tight losses to FAU on Friday and Saturday, the baseball team suffered their biggest loss of the season when they fell to the Owls 10-4 on Sunday. With just a single win over Hofstra in their season-opener, the baseball team’s record stands at just 1-4. They were predicted to finish third this season behind Creighton and UConn in the Big East Preseason Coaches’ Poll.
The baseball team’s next game is scheduled for Saturday, Mar. 6 against Albany. They won’t return to Big East play until Friday, Apr. 9 when they are scheduled to host Butler.
The softball team returned to play for the first time since last spring when the 2020 season was canceled due to the initial outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite finishing their season-opening tournament 0-5, the Pirates tested themselves against some of the top programs in the country in No. 16 Duke and No. 18 South Carolina.
The Pirates will have another opportunity to get their first win of the season on Saturday, Mar. 6 when they host Fordham in a double-header. They’ll return to Big East play on Saturday, Mar. 13 with a three-game home series against Butler.
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Justin Sousa can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @JustinSousa99.