Welcome to the SHUPirates.com countdown of the top 10 moments from the 2011-12 athletic season.
#1 – “’Beam’ of Light” – October 27, 2011
After one of the best regular seasons in recent memory, the Seton Hall women’s soccer team started its postseason run with a landmark victory. Senior Ashley Beamish played the role of hero, scoring in the 89th minute to lift the Pirates to a 1-0 win over St. John's University in the first round of the 2011 BIG EAST Tournament.
Seton Hall qualified for the BIG EAST Tournament for the seventh time in school history and for the first time since the 2006 season after earning the fourth seed out of the National Division. The postseason victory was the first for the Pirates since a 6-2 win over Syracuse in on Nov. 2, 1999.
After a back-and-forth opening half and battling the blustery elements of Owen T. Carroll Field, the Pirates were in firm control of the final 45 minutes. The Hall maintained solid pressure on the St. John's side of the field for the majority of the way, and had several quality scoring chances that they could not capitalize on.
Holding an 11-1 edge in shots over Red Storm 11-1 in the second period, Beamish finally broke the deadlock with just 93 seconds to play. She fired two shots in succession with the second proving to be the game winner. Her first attempt from 10-yards out sailed just over St. John's goalkeeper Lauren Ferris and off the cross bar back into play. Beamish came up with the rebound off the deflection and buried the ball into the left corner for her second score of the year as the Pirate faithful in the stands erupted.
The win also broke a 10-game losing streak to St. John's, with the Pirates picking up their first win over the Red Storm since Oct. 20, 2000.
Sophomore Brian Gilbert fueled a 2-0 victory to complete a three-game sweep of Notre Dame on Craig Biggio Day.
On a picturesque day at Owen T. Carroll Field, Seton Hall great Craig Biggio's #44 was officially retired in a pregame on-field event. The Seton Hall and future Major League Baseball Hall of Famer was an All-American in a Pirates' uniform and helped guide the team to its first-ever BIG EAST Championship in 1987.
Following the festivities, the baseball team used a complete-game shutout by sophomore Brian Gilbert to propel the Pirates to a 2-0 victory over Notre Dame on Sunday, completing a three-game sweep of the Fighting Irish. It marked the first time SHU had swept a Notre Dame squad since 1997.
The Pirates didn't take long to grab the lead, using a leadoff single by Zack Granite, a sacrifice by Mike Genovese, and a Will Walsh RBI single in the first inning.
With Gilbert rolling, the Pirates got an insurance run in the bottom of the fifth inning. Granite again, ignited the offense with a leadoff single, but this time it was junior Giuseppe Papaccio driving in the run with an RBI single through the right side.
The intensity picked up in the top of the ninth after an error and a walk put the tying runs on base for Notre Dame. With two outs and runners on second and third, a wild pitch threatened to break up the shutout bid. However, catcher Dillon Hamlin came up with the ball and tossed it to Gilbert covering to close out the game in dramatic fashion.
Gilbert surrendered just four hits while striking out six batters and was named BIG EAST Pitcher of the Week on April 9 for his efforts.
The women's golf program captured its first team victory in program history at the Siena Invitational last spring.
Playing in only the 15 tournament since the program's inception, the Seton Hall women's golf team won the Homewood Suites Siena Invitational for its first-ever team title. The Pirates won the event by an impressive 32 strokes over second place Indianapolis. All four scoring players recorded top-10 finishes for the tournament in their monumental victory.
Collectively, Seton Hall fired a 22-over-par, 310, in the event's final round and finishes with a 39-over-par, 305-310-615. Freshman McKenzie Cutter logged her highest career finish, placing second out of 49 individual golfers with a 6-over-par performance, marking the highest finish in school history for a freshman. Sophomore Hannah Basalone coming off her first career individual title at the Lehigh Invitational, finished at 8-over-par to tie for third place overall.
The program far exceeded expectations for a second-year program throughout the 2011-12 season. After just nine all-time tournaments the year prior, Seton Hall moved up the GolfStat rankings, placed fourth in the BIG EAST Championship, and earned the aforementioned team to go with an individual championship. Basalone went on to become the program's first All-BIG EAST Team member and was named Seton Hall's Sophomore Female Athlete of the Year.
Senior Jordan Theodore paced the Pirates with 19 second-half points and 11 assists to snap an 11-game losing streak against the Huskies.
The Seton Hall men's basketball rang in the new year with a bang, knocking off #8 Connecticut, 75-63, in front of a raucous Prudential Center crowd. With the win, the Pirates ended an 11-game losing streak against the Huskies, which dated back to the 2000-01 season.
Senior Jordan Theodore led the charge with 19 points, all coming in the second half, and 11 assists. Sophomore Fuquan Edwin notched his first career double-double with 12 points and a career-high 11 rebounds.
The Huskies jumped out to an early 11-2 lead behind eight quick points from Jeremy Lamb. Following a SHU timeout at the 16:16 mark, the Pirates rattled off a 12-2 run bookended by layups from Edwin, who contributed six points and a steal during the five minute stretch. Lamb netted his third three-pointer of the half to end the run and give UConn a slight 16-14 advantage with 9:02 to play before halftime. Seton Hall responded by outscoring the Huskies 21-6, limiting the eighth-ranked visitors to two field goals to close the half carrying a 35-22 advantage into the break.
The Pirates never looked back after the break, keeping the visitors at bay with strong defense and timely offensive execution. The Huskies twice drew within nine points, the last coming at the 12:23 mark following an Alex Oriakhi free throw that cut the SHU lead to 45-36. Despite their efforts, the defending national champions would inch no closer as a three-pointer by Theodore on the ensuing possession pushed the Pirates lead back into double-digits, where it remained until the final buzzer.
Freshman Brandon Mobley was key for SHU off the bench and closed the game with eight points and seven rebounds.
Freshman Kai Greene's first career goal sparked the Pirates 1-0 upset victory over #3 UConn.
On a cold and blustery senior night at Owen T. Carroll Field a day removed from the biggest snow storm of the year, the Seton Hall men's soccer team shocked #3 Connecticut, 1-0, on a first half goal by freshman Kai Greene. The Pirates earned a win over a ranked opponent for the first time since they topped the Huskies, who were coincidentally ranked #3, by an identical 1-0 margin in 2005.
After a just missing out on a big-time scoring opportunity in the 10th minute, sophomore Max Garcia facilitated the lone tally of the contest. The Seton Hall Male Sophomore Athlete of the Year intercepted a clearing attempt and dribbled into the goal box. He slipped a pass to Greene in the middle and his strike went in through the upper left corner. The game-winner was the first goal of Greene's career.
Sophomore Anthony Reichwaldt came up with the save of the game in the 64th minute to preserve the lead for the Pirates. UConn's Carlos Alvarez was left alone from about eight yards, but Reichwaldt made a tremendous sprawling save moving to his right to keep the Hall in front.
SHU dictated the pace most of the way, but UConn turned up the pressure and fired six shots in a frantic final 10 minutes. The Pirate defense was up to the task and blocked four of those attempts to hold off the Huskies and Reichwaldt picked up two more stops to earn his second clean-sheet of the season.
Sophomore Rocio Portela teamed with Chloe Sher to form one of the most formidable pairs in the BIG EAST and Northeast Region.
In what was a resurgent year for the Seton Hall women's tennis program as the Pirates secured their first BIG EAST Tournament berth in five years, a pair of second-year players made waves on the doubles court, re-writing the school record book along the way.
After a difficult start to the spring season, sophomores Rocio Portela and Chloe Sher rebounded to establish themselves as one of the most prolific tandems in the BIG EAST. Playing as the Pirates' top duo the entire season, Portela and Sher reeled off a stretch of 13 consecutive victories, including seven against conference opponents.
On a spring afternoon in our nation's capital, the twosome entered their contest with Georgetown's #1 pair of Kelly Comolli and Lauren Greco, the seventh-ranked player in the Atlantic region at the time, riding a nine-match winning streak.
Portela and Sher fell into an early 2-5 hole and despite the fact that the Hoyas had already secured the doubles point with wins at the other two positions, the pair refused to fold. Following a furious rally, the two had teamed to force the match into a decisive 15th game with the match score all-square at 7-7. The sophomore duo went on to take the final game and the match, securing their spot in Seton Hall history.
With the victory, Portela and Sher increased their career win total as a team to 23, moving them into sole possession of the top spot in the SHU record book, which dates back to 2001. In less than two years, they had eclipsed the previous mark of 22 career wins held by Catalina Isaza and Lorell Zamot.
The duo went on to add three more victories in 2012, extending their lead and bringing their total to 14 on the year, matching the second-highest single-season mark by any SHU pair.
Also a standout in singles, Sher went on to become the first Pirate to earn All-BIG EAST honors after posting her second consecutive 20-win season.
Senior Troy Spencer carded the decisive birdie in a playoff to lead SHU to the team title at the Fireline Towson Invitational.
The Seton Hall men's golf team needed a playoff and a par-saving shot from Derrick Kim to edge Northern Colorado by one stroke to claim its first of two team championships of the year at the Fireline Towson Invitational.
Seton Hall had a four-stroke lead heading into the final day, thanks in part to a pair of -2 performances by Gary Dunne and John Dawson Neufeld after the first 36-holes on Saturday, but Northern Colorado eliminated the deficit with a strong round on Sunday.
Northern Colorado counted four pars in the playoff, while Seton Hall logged a birdie and three pars to win the extra session. Senior Troy Spencer notched the winning birdie for the Pirates and Derrick Kim impressively saved par after finding a sand trap.
Kim was the standout performer for the Pirates during round three. The freshman fired a 2-under-par, 70, in the final round to keep SHU’s title hopes alive. He finished the tournament tied for fifth among 120 individual golfers with teammate John Dawson Neufeld, who both shot even par for the weekend.
The Pirates also continued to see individuals recognized as Spencer and sophomore Gary Dunne became the first duo to earn All-BIG EAST honors in the same season in program history. Additionally, Spencer and Brandon Park were named to the PING All-Northeast Teams earlier this month.
Senior Jasmine Crew lifted the Pirates to victory after a career-performance against Louisiana Tech.
In one of the best single-game performances in program history, senior Jasmine Crew willed the Seton Hall women's basketball team to a 72-69 victory over Louisiana Tech in the opening game of the Paradise Jam in St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Island. Crew netted a career-high 35 points, going 16-for-21 from the free-throw line, which set a pair of school records. The point total was just two shy of breaking Geraldine Saintilus' single-game scoring record, set in 1989.
The Techsters used a 10-0 run late in the first half to put the Pirates in a 43-30 hole at halftime and led by double-digits until 12:33 mark. At that point, Crew took over by scoring the Pirates next 15 points over a 5:23 span to pull SHU within two-points with 8:10 on the clock, The All-BIG EAST Second Teamer eventually gave the Pirates the lead for good with 5:55 remaining.
Despite Crew's heroics and holding Louisiana Tech to just one field goal during an eight-plus minute stretch, the Lady Techsters stayed in the game by converting from the foul line and trailed by one with 3:36 to go. The Techsters' Jasmine Bendolph drilled a trey with 51 seconds remaining to make it, 71-69, and had a chance to tie or take the lead in the closing moments. With five seconds to go, Angie Felton's 18-footer from the right wing was off the mark, and senior Tajay Ashmeade snared her 10th rebound of the game and was fouled. After Ashmeade connected on 1-of-2 from the charity stripe and a last second hail-mary was off the mark.
Crew's season will undoubtedly go down as one of the greatest offensive years in program history. She racked up 577 points, which is the third highest single-season mark. In addition her scoring average of 18.5 points per game is tied for the second highest in program history. In addition to her All-BIG EAST selection, Crew was named All-Metropolitan Second Team.
#9 – “Just Keep Digging” – September 16, 2011
Sophomore libero Alyssa Warren stole the show with a dominant defensive performance, breaking the Seton Hall single-match dig record after racking up 45 digs in five-set win over Boston College. Warren broke a 21-year old record previously held by Laura Romeika, who posted 41 digs against Connecticut on October 30, 1990.
The match itself proved to be worthy of a top-10 moment after the Eagles erased a two-set deficit to force a deciding frame. The Hall capitalized on a quick start in the fifth set, jumping out to a 5-1 lead. Boston College cut the deficit to three points, but that was as close as they would be able to get and the Pirates picked up the win.
Warren was a key figure in Seton Hall racking up a 17-13 overall record, its best mark since 2003, and a program-best eight BIG EAST victories. The standout recorded 563 digs on the year, which is the third highest single-season total. She also became just the seventh player to eclipse 1,000 digs for her career and is ranked fourth on the all-time list with 1,083 scoops in just two seasons.
Senior Nicole Lowenstein delivered the game-winner to lift SHU to a 4-3 win at Villanova on May 5.
In the final weekend of the season, the Seton Hall softball team used clutch hitting and timely defense to win a 4-3 thriller in 11 innings in the second game of a doubleheader at Villanova.
The Pirates took leads of 2-0 and 3-2 in the contest only to see the Wildcats foil their plans each time. SHU had to wiggle out of a bases loaded jam in the seventh on a clutch double play and used a big force out at the plate with the bases juiced in the eighth to set up its game-winning rally in the 11th inning.
With two outs, senior Laura Canulli singled and stole second to set up Nicole Loewenstein, who played the role of the hero, with a base-hit to give the Pirates the lead for good. However, there would be more theatrics to occur in the bottom of the inning.
The Wildcats’ Ali Lowe singled to lead things off to set up a successful sacrifice bunt. Lowe tried to take an extra base on the slow developing play, resulting in an errant throw to third base, and she made the final turn in an attempt to tie the game. Third baseman Meredith Henze alertly came up with the loose ball and fired home to Loewenstein, who laid on the tag in time to preserve the victory.