Ritter Strikes Twice but Rally Falls Short for WSOC

Senior Ashley Clarke recorded on assist on SHU's first goal of the night. She now has three helpers on the year and ranks second in program history with 15 for her career

Senior Ashley Clarke recorded on assist on SHU's first goal of the night. She now has three helpers on the year and ranks second in program history with 15 for her career

Sep 2, 2013

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WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. - For the second time this season, seniors Katie Ritter (Hagerstown, Md.) and Ashley Clarke (Paramus, N.J.) were instrumental in helping the Seton Hall women's soccer team erase an early two-goal deficit but the comeback fell short for the Pirates on Monday night as host Monmouth University came away with a 3-2 win.

Monmouth got on the board just ahead of the seven-minute mark as Alexis McTamney got on the end of a cross from Alexandra Baca and re-directed it into the bottom right corner to help the Hawks jump out to a 1-0 lead.

Just over 10 minutes later, McTamney added a second, putting the Pirates in a 0-2 hole. SHU goalkeeper Jennifer Pettigrew (Kearny, N.J.), who was named to the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll earlier in the day, was there to stop the initial shot but McTamney got to the rebound and sent it home to double her tally.

In the 2013 opener against Stony Brook, Seton Hall similarly fell behind by two in the opening 20 minutes but came back to earn a 2-2 draw behind a goal and an assist apiece from Ritter and Clarke.

Less than eight minutes after freshman Sarah Cortes (Paramus, N.J.) got the squad's first look at goal on the night, she linked up with Clarke and Ritter to pull the Pirates back to within one. The goal came in the 32nd minute when Ritter got her end on the head of a cross and beat MU keeper Ashley Lewis for her second score of the season.

The assists were career landmarks for both Cortes and Clarke as the freshman recorded her first collegiate point on the play while Clarke's helper was the 15th of her career, the second-highest individual total in program history.

The goal ignited the Pirates' attack as SHU kept Monmouth under immense pressure up until the halftime whistle, a stretch that culminated in a Marie Klemme (Berlin, Germany) effort ricocheted off the cross bar and narrowly missed sending the teams into the break on even terms.

The equalizer didn't come long after the restart as just over six minutes into the second half, Ritter found the back of the net to tie the score at 2-2. The scoring play started with a feed from senior Meghan Hayes (Fredon, N.J.) who played it forward allowing Ritter to take on and beat her defender, leaving her with just the keeper to beat and she did just that; matching McTamney with her second of the night.

The goals were the second and third of the season for the Hagerstown product, matching her total from all of last year. She is now in sole possession of third place on the school's all-time goals list, needing just one more to join Courtney Wood ('95-'98) and Kelly Smith ('97-'99) as the only players to score 20 goals for the Pirates.

Wood ranks second with 26 career goals while the incomparable Smith is first after setting an NCAA standard for goals per game that still stands today; scoring 76 times in her 51 appearances for Seton Hall (1.49 goals per game).

It was the second assist for Hayes in as many games and her fourth point over the last two matches after she scored the game-winner against Army before assisting on the insurance goal in a 2-0 victory last time out.

The Hawks stymied the SHU offense over the next 25-plus minutes that followed Ritter's second strike and came up with what would prove to be a winner in the 78th minute when Brianne Boyle let one go from about 25 yards out, putting it out of Pettigrew's reach and into the top corner to give her team the decisive 3-2 advantage.

The loss marks only the fourth for Seton Hall (1-2-1) in 19 all-time meetings with the Hawks and only the second time the Pirates were dealt a defeat in West Long Branch, the last coming in 1995.

Next up for The Hall is a two-game swing next weekend at the Virginia Nike Soccer Classic. The Pirates will head to Charlottesville, Va. where they will face William & Mary on Friday, September 6 at 4:00 p.m. before taking on the Cavaliers two days later.

Both contests are scheduled to be aired live on WSOU 89.5 FM.