Sept. 28, 2007
SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. - Freshman Sean Mergenthal (Blackwood, N.J./Highland Regional High School) scored a pair of second half goals to break a scoreless tie and lift Villanova (7-2-0 overall, 2-1-0 BIG EAST) to a 2-0 victory over Seton Hall in a BIG EAST men's soccer match played here on Friday night.
"I thought we were the better team tonight," stated Villanova head coach Larry Sullivan. "We had some chances in the first half we didn't capitalize on. But we played an excellent overall game."
An early thunderstorm just before 6:00 p.m. delayed the game's kickoff for 15 minutes but once action got underway the Wildcats generated a pair of quality scoring opportunities. The first came when sophomore Mike Seamon (Rahway, N.J./Union Catholic High School) fed a ball to freshman Anthony Griffith (Philadelphia, Pa./The Haverford School) to the right of the net. Griffith sent a blast toward the net that goalkeeper Paul McHenry knocked away. On the ensuing corner kick senior Matt Sleece (Clifton, N.J./Clifton H.S.) sent a header over the net.
Seton Hall countered with a strong chance of its own in the 16th minute. Off a corner kick, the ball came to the Pirates' Bryan Longo on a deflection. Longo sent a low blast that just missed the far corner of the Wildcat net. Friel then made a big save on a low blast from Eliseo Giusfredi in the 21st minute to keep the contest scoreless.
In the 37th minute, the Hall generated a major chance as Giusfredi broke in on the Villanova defense with the ball and great speed. Sleece broke up the play only to see the ball ricochet directly to the Pirates Dritan Sela who had Friel out of position. However, Sela's shot sailed wide to the right.
The half ended with a flurry of action in front of the Pirate net by the Wildcats but no score. Seton Hall owned a 9-6 edge in shots. Friel made four saves while McHenry had two.
Villanova created a terrific chance early in the second half off a bit of ball wizardry from junior Joe Taylor (Southampton, Pa./Archbishop Wood H.S.). Taylor created some space with the dribble on the left side and lofted a chip into the box toward senior Mike Del Guercio (Chatham, N.J./Delbarton). Del Guercio headed a ball that just missed the top shelf of the net.
Later in the half, Chris Christian (West, Orange, N.J./West Orange H.S.) lofted a ball into a diving Seamon, but the ball was just beyond him.
The game's first goal came off a rather routine play. Junior Miles Harrison (Louisville, Ky./Ballard H.S.) collected a ball in the midfield and had time to set himself. He lofted a ball towards the net that Mergenthal fielded and then sent a low shot past McHenry at 66:38. It was Mergenthal's second goal of the season.
Seton Hall responded with two quality scoring chances in the ensuing seven minutes. Giusfredi sent a dangerous shot towards Friel off a free kick in the 72nd minute that was blocked by a VU defender.
Mergenthal picked up his second goal of the night at 80:15. With the Pirates pressing forward, Seamon collected a loose ball on the right wing and raced in towards the net. He sent a nifty cross to Mergenthal near the left post and he redirected the ball past McHenry into the goal.
"Our freshmen gave us a great effort tonight," Sullivan said. "Mergenthal was terrific and so were Christian and Nick Rouzier."