The season ends for the Pirates after 1-0 loss to VillanovaDate: November 6, 2019
By: Wilnir Louis
On the last day of the regular season in the Big East and the last home game for eight Seton Hall seniors, the festivities were spoiled by the Villanova Wildcats (9-8-1 overall, 2-6-1 conf.), as the Pirates (6-9-1 overall, 3-5-1 conf.) fell 1-nil in their last matchup at Owen T. Carroll Field for the 2019 campaign.
Coming into this game, the game plan was simple for Seton Hall to extend their season into the playoffs; win and you are in. Villanova, at the bottom of the conference had nothing to play for, but still wanted to spoil the Pirates’ season.
The first half was even for both teams as both teams were applying offensive pressure consistently and often. 32 seconds after the first kick, Seton Hall had a chance to get an early lead in the matchup, as Sean MacLeod got the first shot attempt for the Hall but was saved Carson Williams. Four minutes later, the Pirates had another opportunity off the foot of Stephen Elias, but it was too strong and kicked out of bounds.
Seton Hall would be without a shot for the next 15 minutes as Villanova started to push themselves. A shot by Seidu Shamsudeen was saved by Andreas Nota and two corner kicks by the Wildcats were unsuccessful. After that, Seton Hall started to go on the attack once again, but nothing by the Pirates found the back of the net. At the end of the first 45 minutes, the Hall led the Wildcats eight to four in shots, but shots-on-goal was even at two.
The second half started strong for the Hall. Similar to the first half, within the first minute of the half, Seton Hall was able to get a shot by Carlton McKenzie getting saved by Williams. Seton Hall was able to get another shot by Nathan Tremonti two minutes later which was also saved. The tide in the game turned after the 52nd minute. Villanova was able to get a corner kick after a shot by Richie Schlentz was saved over the goal by a leaping Nota.
The ensuing corner by the Wildcats was headed up and over the goal again by the Pirates. Third time was the charm for Villanova, as the corner by Theo Quartey found the foot of Shane Bradley and was able to get it above Nota’s outstretched arm for the 1-nil lead in the 54th minute.
Seton Hall continued to fight throughout the backend of the half. Three shot opportunities by the Hall in the 61st, 65th, and 67th minute respectively could not find the net and kept Seton Hall in their deficit. The Pirates had two more golden opportunities.
In the 76th minute, MacLeod had a chance at an equalizer right in front of the net, but the defense by the Wildcats was stout, stopping the attempt and drawing a foul by the Pirates. McKenzie had another chance to knot the game up but his shot was too far right, not having any chance at a goal.
By the time the final buzzer sounded, the Pirates heard their playoff hopes shatter and a rollercoaster seasons end. Under the helm of the second-year head coach Andreas Lindberg, the Pirates found their season ending the same way the season last year ended; a 1-nil loss to Villanova to cap off a six-win season. Dejected by the loss, coach Lindberg acknowledge some improvements that the team had from the previous season.
“We made some small steps,” Lindberg said “but we’re still not good enough to make [the tournament] two years in a row.”
For Steven Catudal, Macleod, Vittorio Argeri, McKenzie, Torbjorn Alseth, Alex Pozesky, Tremonti, and, Elias, their collegiate careers end here. For the players who came in as freshmen, they saw Seton Hall go from a winless team in 2015 before they entered, to a four-win team their first year, to six-win teams three straight years.
“This is a good group... I think they're leaving the program a little better than when they found it, but we still have ways to go,” head coach Lindberg said.
Georgetown, St. John’s, Providence, Butler, Creighton, and Marquette will be the six teams fighting for the postseason title with this Seton Hall loss.
Wilnir Louis is the Station Manager at WSOU, and can be reached at email@example.com.