Men’s Soccer Falls to Seton Hall, Playoff Hopes on Life Support


Olivia Pasquale/The Villanovan

Viktor Benediktsson (above) scored Villanova’s lone goal against Seton Hall.

Owen Hewitt, Staff Writer

SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. – Villanova men’s soccer lost 2-1 to Seton Hall on a chilly night in South Orange, N.J. Pirates graduate forward J.P. Marin scored the match’s first goal in the 48th, with Villanova senior defender Viktor Benediktsson equalizing in the 72nd. Senior midfielder James Boote found the back of the net in the 75th, burying the ‘Cats hopes of getting into the Big East Tournament. The loss drops the ‘Cats to 5-8-2 overall, 2-7-1 in conference play. 

“It was tough. I thought we had another goal in us too,” head coach Tom Carlin said. “It looked like we had started to turn the tides a little bit. It’s backbreaking. It was a play we should have defended better, whether that be our goalkeeper or a field player or whatever. Like I said, it’s backbreaking.”

The ‘Cats struggled to get much going on the offensive end in the first half, as their first shot wouldn’t come until the 37th. The attempt came from the foot of junior forward Akinjide Awujo. Awujo’s shot went wide of the frame after the Pirates applied intense pressure.

The Pirates were able to produce many more opportunities in the first half, getting off seven shots in the first 45 of play. Only two of those shots forced graduate keeper Kent Dickey into making saves, both of which were made with relative ease. 

The best scoring chance of the first half for the ‘Cats came off a corner earned by junior midfielder Branden Johns in the 42nd. The service in from the corner bounced awkwardly through the box and got to Benediktsson, who attempted a bicycle kick, but his shot sailed high of the net. 

Shortly after the halftime break, Seton Hall was able to break through, with Marin slotting one past Dickey off a cross from the right side of the pitch. The goal put the Pirates up, 1-0.

The Wildcats would find the equalizer in the 72nd off the foot of Benediktsson, who snatched the ball off a rebound from a Wildcats free kick.

“[Benediktsson’s] opportunistic, he’s always chasing things down in the box on setpieces, he’s hungry,” Carlin said. “He always seems like he’s in the right spot. It’s unbelievable.”

But the Pirates wouldn’t have to wait long to get back on top, with Boote striking a beautiful ball from the top of the semicircle that found its way to the back of the net in the 75th. 

From there, the ‘Cats kept attacking, but were unable to find to tie things up. The loss all but mathematically eliminates the Wildcats from postseason play, as they stand second-to-last in the conference with seven points.

“It speaks to this conference,” Carlin said. “Xavier was picked to be last and they’re in the top two or three. We were picked to be last last year. It speaks to the parity of the conference. It also speaks to expectation and how things are weighing on our guys.”

Villanova has just two matches remaining on its schedule. The Wildcats face Navy on October 25th and travel to DePaul on Nov. 2nd to close out the season.