Women's Soccer Heads to Xavier

Sophomore Melissa Blevins is part of a SHU back-line that has allowed only three goals in four BIG EAST games

Sophomore Melissa Blevins is part of a SHU back-line that has allowed only three goals in four BIG EAST games

Oct. 11, 2013

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SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. – Though the Seton Hall women’s soccer team only plays one game this weekend, tomorrow may prove to be one of the most impactful days of the season for the Pirates.

SHU heads to Cincinnati to take on new BIG EAST member Xavier for the first time in school history. Coming off two hard-fought, 1-0 losses in their last two games, Seton Hall (4-7-2, 2-2-0) will be aiming to pick up its first road victory of the season.

A week ago, The Hall held the host Blue Demons scoreless in regulation and allowed only two shots on net prior to extra time. DPU eventually notched a game-winner early in the first overtime period however, snapping the Pirates’ three-game winning streak.

On Sunday, SHU got the better of visiting Creighton in nearly every facet of the game. The wealth of opportunities created did not translate to the scoreboard however and a 63rd-minute goal from the Bluejays’ Kirstyn Corder eventually held up as the decisive score.

While Seton Hall saw a number of streaks end with by virtue of the pair of results, a number of positive trends continued. Most notably, the team’s defense has proven to be one of the most capable units in the conference. The blue & white back line has only allowed 14 shots on net through four league matches and the Pirates have yielded one goal or less in six of their last seven games overall.

Goalkeeper Jennifer Pettigrew (Kearny, N.J.) has been at the center of the defensive effort for every second of gameplay through 13 matches. Her 58 saves are the fourth-highest total in the league and her 4.46 saves per game are fifth-best.

The defense is far from the only aspect of the team that is excelling as during conference play, the Seton Hall attack ranks in the top-half of the BIG EAST in every major statistical category.  

Senior Katie Ritter (Hagerstown, Md.) leads the Pirates with six goals, 13 points and 31 shots on the season, all totals that rank among the top-eight in the BIG EAST. Midfielder Ashley Clarke (Paramus, N.J.) is tied for sixth in the league with six assists and is just two shy of tying the single-season school record for a second consecutive year.

With an even split of two wins and two losses over the first four conference matches, the Pirates remain positioned to earn a berth into the BIG EAST Tournament for the second time in three years. SHU is listed sixth in the league standings, the final qualifying spot, but is tied with Villanova for the fifth-most points (6) and is just one point behind DePaul and Creighton who sit in third and fourth respectively.

Saturday is moving day around the league as the standings are due for a shakeup with all 10 teams playing just one game this week.

Seton Hall draws a Xavier team that entered conference play at 7-1-1 but has dropped the first four BIG EAST games in its history by a combined score of 14-2. The Musketeers have prevailed in their last four home contests however, and are led by standout junior goalkeeper Katie Markesbery who leads the league with 5.83 saves per contest. XU will also roll out a dangerous lineup that features six players who have found the back of the net more than once this season.

With four of the five teams ahead of SHU in the standings meeting head-to-head this weekend and Villanova squaring off with seventh-place St. John’s, who sits two points behind The Hall, SHU remains very much in the mix to secure a postseason berth in the first season of a revamped BIG EAST.

Recently, Pettigrew and senior Marie Klemme (Berlin, Germany) discussed the first two weeks of conference play and what the Pirates can do to get back on track on Saturday. You can see the interview HERE

Here’s a look at the five games on the conference slate this weekend:

Saturday, Oct. 12

DePaul (8-2-2, 2-1-1, 3rd BIG EAST) at Creighton (9-3-1, 2-1-1, 4th BIG EAST) 8 p.m.

Villanova (5-6-2, 2-2-0, 5th BIG EAST) at St. John’s (7-3-2, 1-2-1, 7th BIG EAST) 7 p.m.

Seton Hall (4-7-2, 2-2-0, 6th BIG EAST) at Xavier (7-5-1, 0-4-0, 10th BIG EAST) 3 p.m.

Providence (4-6-3, 1-3-0, 9th BIG EAST) at Butler (8-4-2, 1-3-0, 8th BIG EAST) 7 p.m.

 

Sunday, Oct. 13

Georgetown (11-0-2, 3-0-1, 2nd BIG EAST) at Marquette (11-3-0, 4-0-0, 1st BIG EAST) 2 p.m.