Soma Shines as WSOC beats 'Nova 2-0
Courtesy: Seton Hall Athletic Communications
SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. - A relentless first half attack helped the Seton Hall University women's soccer team get back on track on Sunday afternoon as the Pirates blanked National Division foe Villanova, 2-0, to earn their first BIG EAST victory of the season.
Seton Hall (6-4, 1-1) controlled the run of play from the opening whistle, keeping Villanova pinned in their defensive third. The Pirates' first opportunity came in the third minute when junior midfielder
Ashley Clarke (Paramus, N.J.) won the ball in midfield and found Katie Ritter (Hagerstown, Md.) on the left wing. Ritter found space for a shot but her effort sailed wide.
Five minutes later, Amie Ruhe (Monrovia, Md.) almost put SHU on top when she fired a shot from a central position just outside the area, but Villanova keeper Kelsey Quinn was there to make the stop. The shot was the first of three that Ruhe sent on net in the half as she provided a physical presence in midfield for the Pirates throughout the match.
Seton Hall continued to apply pressure as moments later senior Taylor Mims (Miller Place, N.Y.) helped create a chance when she won the ball and sent it to Clarke who again was in space on the left side. Clarke picked out Brittney Albrecht (Mahwah, N.J.) who sent a rocket towards net, forcing Quinn to touch it over the bar.
Senior Stephanie Soma (Franklin, Mass.) came on for the Hall as a 27th minute substitute and her presence paid immediate dividends. Soma aided an SHU attack that had dominated possession from the outset and in the 34th minute, she provided the finishing touch that had been missing.
The play started with Clarke again combining with Ritter who carried the ball into the corner. Ritter sent a cross into the box that found Soma, who slotted in home with a header to give Seton Hall a 1-0 advantage. The score was the 10th of Soma's career and her second of the season.
Ritter recorded her second assist of 2012 on the play. For Clarke, who entered the weekend ranked in the top-five nationally in assists, the helper was her sixth of the year, matching the fourth highest single season total in school history. With three assists in her last three matches, Clarke now has 10 in her career, moving her into a tie for fifth place on Seton Hall's all-time assists list.
Despite being up on the scoreboard, the Pirates' pressure did not relent as their shot total climbed to 17 before the intermission.
Ruhe orchestrated the final two chances of the half, the first of which came when she nearly beat Quinn near post in the 38th minute. With the clock winding down, Ruhe again tested the Villanova keeper. Quinn came up with the initial stop but mishandled the ball, allowing an opportunistic Soma to poach an insurance goal 10 seconds before the horn.
Ruhe was credited with an assist and the score gave Soma her first career multi-goal game. In the process, she increased her total to four goals for the year, the highest total on the team to this point.
The second half was a physical affair as Seton Hall anchored in on defense in an effort to protect their two-goal lead. Villanova created a number of looks at net, but freshman Gina Maiorana (Street, Md.) finished with three saves to earn her fifth win and fourth shutout in six starts.
Her four clean sheets match the ninth-highest total by any Seton Hall goalkeeper in a single year.
The Pirates back line was stout throughout the 90 minutes as Cristina Barthel (Freehold, N.J.), Meghan Hayes (Fredon, N.J.) Mims, and D'Yonna Riley (Washingtonville, N.Y.) all went the distance in the team's fifth shutout of the season.
Seton Hall's final totals of 22 shots and nine shots on goal are the second-highest for the team in each category through 10 matches. Villanova (3-5-2, 1-1) finished with seven shots, three of which were on net.
The Pirates return to action on Friday night when they welcome Marquette to Owen T. Carroll Field. Kick-off is set for 7 p.m.