Pirates capture soccer title in decisive victory

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WEST ORANGE, NJ — On a beautiful Saturday morning the Seton Hall Prep soccer team traveled to Caven Point Athletic Complex in Jersey City to take on St. Peter’s Prep in the NJSIAA Northeast Non-Public Regional Final. The fourth-seeded Pirates defeated the second-seeded Marauders 4-0 to capture the title. 

Senior Lucas Ross opened the scoring with his sixth goal of the season when he headed in a pass from senior Edward Kelly, who received a pass from junior Zaiden James with 22:00 left in the first half. Four minutes later, junior Brian Sheehan passed it to junior David Schuster, who passed it to junior Drew Ligotti, who scored his fourth goal of the season inside the far post to make it 2-0. 

In the second half, junior Charles Giordano was awarded a penalty kick with 10:00 remaining and he converted his first goal of the season to increase the Pirate lead to 3-0. Junior Noah Cueva closed out the scoring with his first goal of the season with 3:00 left on an assist by senior Dylan Afonso. 

Senior Tomas Hut and junior Aidan Batista secured the clean sheet with three saves and one save, respectively. It was Seton Hall’s seventh shutout of the season. 

“Coming into the postseason with only seven games because of two quarantines, it took us a while to hit our stride, especially with the younger players learning what it’s all about. That is what makes today so much more special,” head coach Marty Berman said after the match. “We came together in 10 games instead of 20. It’s really rewarding because we did have to overcome adversity. That’s our school motto, ‘Hazard Zet Forward,’ go forward despite the risks.” 

Ross said, “We just made the most out of the season we were given. We came and showed how good we were and in the final games we were able to play our best soccer of the season.”

Hut added, “I’m glad that we could end the season with a championship. It means the most to me to end the season with all my senior brothers and underclassmen because we are a family.”

Ligotti said, “It was a perfect way to end the season, which was rough in the beginning and in the middle because of our shutdowns.”

The Pirates reached the regional final by defeating top-seeded Bergen Catholic 2-0 in Oradell two days earlier in the semifinal round. Schuster opened the scoring when he put in a rebound off a Ross shot with 18:49 left in the first half. Ross increased the Pirates lead to 2-0 when he scored from 6 yards out on passes from James and Sheehan with 4:20 left in the first half. Hut secured the shutout with three saves. 

Following that match, Berman said, “I am really proud of the way we played today as it all came together with our passing on offense and strong defense.”

Ross added, “We played really well today as we created a lot of chances and were able to finish them.”

On Nov. 17, Seton Hall hosted Montclair Kimberley Academy in the quarterfinal round and won 1-0 in overtime. Schuster scored after collecting a beautiful long ball over the top of the MKA backline from senior Terry Thompson with 3:45 left in the first overtime session. Hut had one save in the match. 

Following the match, Schuster said, “It was surreal. I have great coaches who put me in that situation and I get a great ball from Terry.”

NOTES: Going into the 2021 season, Berman will be entering his 36th year as head coach of Seton Hall Prep’s soccer team and his current record stands at 493-190-62, .703. Next season will also be the 47th that soccer will be a varsity sport at Seton Hall Prep.

Photos Courtesy of Richard Morris, Seton Hall Prep