SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. – Seton Hall scored a goal in each half Wednesday night to post a 2-0 BIG EAST victory over Villanova in the season finale for both squads. The Wildcats completed the 2017 campaign with a 7-11 record, 2-7 in conference action while the Pirates concluded the season with a 6-10-1 mark.
“It’s just been one of those seasons,” stated Villanova head coach Tom Carlin. “Tonight kind of epitomized that. We had good possessions and created some good chances but there just weren’t enough of them.”
The Pirates gained the upper hand early on this cold evening at Owen T. Carroll Field. A sequence that began with a cross from the Hall’s Mario Prata to Nick Najera was saved by the Wildcats senior goalkeeper Will Steiner. But the rebound found its way to Jonathan Jimenez, who headed the ball into the net for his second goal of the season.
“We lost a mark on a free kick and paid the price,” noted Carlin of the opening score.
The official time of the Seton Hall goal was 11:32.
The Wildcats responded with some quality scoring chances of their own. Junior Zach Zandi – who finished the night with three shots – and freshman Yusuf Cueceoglu – who also had three shots on the evening – both created dangerous opportunities in the opening half. But the Pirates’ defense held firm and the ‘Cats trailed 1-0 at halftime.
The second goal in a tight match such as this often looms large and it did on this night. Seton Hall was awarded a penalty kick at 72:27. Andres Arcila converted the attempt, his ninth goal of the season, to give the Pirates a two goal cushion that they would retain for the remaining 17 plus minutes of the contest.
For the Wildcats, Steiner made five saves.
Both Seton Hall and Villanova were eliminated from BIG EAST Tournament consideration last Saturday. For the Wildcats, a 2-1 loss to Providence on Senior Day at the Higgins Soccer Complex was decisive. This contest marked the final appearance in the Blue and White for seniors Andreas Bartosinski, Christopher Bared, Lucas Hodges, Max Kroschwitz, Miguel Polley and Steiner, all of whom played essential roles in the program’s first ever NCAA Tournament appearance in 2016.
After winning five of their first eight in 2017 on the strength of a potent attack, the goals proved much harder to come by over the season’s final 10 games.
“We like to create chances through the midfield and teams began to defend us that way and take that away from us,” stated Carlin. “We weren’t able to find other ways to score and it hurt us. We went from what was the best season in program history to the most disappointing one in my time here.
“That said, I can’t overstate the enormous impact this senior class had on this program. They were tremendous representatives in the class room, on the field, and in the community. They handled everything well and made Villanova proud. We’re thankful for all they have given us.”