All stories come to an end, and the improbable run for the Seton Hall men’s soccer team came to an end on Monday with a 2-0 loss to the Indiana Hoosiers in the Elite Eight of the NCAA Men's Soccer Tournament. The Elite Eight appearance was the first for the Pirates since 1988, which also saw the Pirates lose our on a Final Four spot to Indiana.
The Pirates peppered the Indiana net with shots throughout but weren’t able to get one to land. Seton Hall outshot Indiana 14-3, including six shots on goal. The Pirates also had five corner kicks in the match.
“They finished our chances and we didn’t. They capitalized on the few chances they had and we didn’t,” Seton Hall coach Andreas Lindberg said.
The two teams played an even first half with both squads seeing scoring opportunities. Indiana had a free kick that was blocked by Seton Hall defender Johannes Pex and Seton Hall had shots by Pex and Camil Koreichi.
The game undoubtedly changed with a lightning delay with three minutes left in the second half. The game was delayed for almost an hour as a downpour pelted the field and made the pitch slippery for the second half.
Despite continuing rain as the first half came to a close, Indiana struck first with a goal from Ryan Wittenbrink. After the teams regrouped at the half, Indiana doubled their lead in the 58th minute as Maouloune Goumballe set up a perfect pass to teammate Thomas Warr who snuck the ball past Seton Hall goalkeeper Andreas Nota.
Despite the loss, the impact of a season like this cannot be overstated. “It’s a massive step forward. They should be extremely proud of what they accomplished. We put the program back on the map,” Lindberg said.
And it’s a program that will stay on the map for years to come. Lindberg mentioned that the entire team returns next year, including Nota, striker CJ Tibbling, defender Maurice Williams, and top assist man James Boote. He also noted that a couple transfers will become eligible next season and a couple impressive freshmen will be joining the team.
The story of the 2021 Seton Hall men’s soccer team is now finished, but this year’s squad left an indelible mark on the history of Seton Hall soccer, winning the school’s first Big East Championship since 1991 and the first NCAA tournament appearance since 2005.
“It’s been a great run,” Lindberg said. “Like I said, we’re not happy, we’re not satisfied. It’s about winning titles and that’s why I’m so happy we won the Big East. Nobody can ever take that away from us.”
Matt Collins can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.