Aug 14, 2013
SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. – The Seton Hall women’s soccer team got its first taste of competition leading up to the 2013 season on Wednesday afternoon; finishing as 4-1 winners over visiting Drexel in the first of two exhibition matches on the schedule.
In the exhibition setting, the match was broken down into three 30-minute periods.
The Pirates spent much of the first half-hour in their attacking third, putting consistent pressure on a Drexel defense that yielded less than one goal per match in 2012. In the fifth minute, junior midfielder Kristina Meier (Paramus, N.J.) sent a left-footed strike whizzing off the crossbar, marking the first of many chances in the period for The Hall.
Just four minutes later, freshman Frankie Maier (Oradell, N.J.) made her first appearance as a Pirate a memorable one when she collected a loose ball and found the back of the net on a shot from the left side of the area, putting SHU on top for good.
Midfielder Ashley Clarke (Paramus, N.J.) was credited with an assist on the play, the first of two helpers for the senior in the period.
Maier’s tally was the first of two goals scored in similar fashion during a five-minute span for SHU, as in the 14th minute Clarke connected with classmate Meghan Hayes (Fredon, N.J.) to help double the advantage. Hayes, who will enter the year with two career goals to her name, found space on the left side of the box and beat DU starting keeper Eve Badana to widen the gap.
The first period also saw the return of Jennifer Pettigrew (Kearny, N.J.) for the Pirates, who saw her first action in over a year after missing last season due to a knee injury. Pettigrew logged a scoreless 30 minutes, highlighted by a sliding challenge at the edge of the six-yard box that ended a Drexel threat after they had momentarily found space behind the Pirates’ back line.
The second period brought wholesale changes for the Pirates, as 10 new faces trotted out on the pitch with senior Katie Ritter (Hagerstown, Md.)
the only holdover from the opening frame. DU enjoyed more possession in the second 30, but a stout SHU defense kept the quality looks to a minimum.
Seton Hall created three opportunities to add a third in the minutes leading up to the final period, but each time was turned away. The first came when junior Angie Shehaj (East Brunswick, N.J.) found herself in on goal but was unable to find the finishing touch from close range. Ritter nearly added to the lead minutes later with a strike from right of the six-yard box but likewise came away empty-handed.
Newcomer and St. Bonaventure transfer Amanda Gulli (Toms River, N.J.) pulled the trigger on a long range shot that hit the target as the clock wound down but the period would end with the score-line still reading 2-0.
Freshman Stephanie Heber (Rochester Hills, Mich.) stopped every shot that came her way in her first 30 minutes of action as a Pirate, helping The Hall carry a clean sheet into the final frame.
Less than a minute after the whistle to start the third period, Clarke provided the final service once again, this time linking up with Gulli who struck to increase the lead to three. In possession near the touchline to the right of goal, Clarke sent a ball across the area that found Gulli who redirected it, sending it back in the direction it came and leaving the keeper no chance as it nestled into the right side of the net.
It was the third assist of the afternoon for Clarke, who picked up right where she left off after finishing last season as the team’s leading scorer and tying the all-time single season record with eight assists on the year.
Gulli will add depth to the SHU squad after making 16 appearances and five starts for the Bonnies as a freshman last season.
Despite the advantage, the Pirates continued to press the issue and soon after Gulli’s goal, a pass from Maier found a streaking Marie Klemme (Berlin, Germany) in a dangerous area, but her shot sailed wide of the right post.
The Dragons managed to pull one back with just over nine minutes remaining when forward Shyanne Kimbrough erased the shutout but the Pirates would add another when Klemme left the keeper stranded with a deft strike from the corner flag that ended up in the back of the net, putting the final touches on an impressive first outing.
Seton Hall will play its second and final exhibition match prior to the 2013 season on Sunday, Aug. 18 when Rider comes to South Orange. Start-time is slated for 11:00 a.m.