Seton Hall 2, Hartwick 1

Nov. 19, 2005

SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. -- Junior All-American Sacha Kljestan (Huntington Beach, Calif.) notched a pair of assists for the 20th-ranked Seton Hall men's soccer team, leading them to a 2-1 win over No. 24 Hartwick in the NCAA Tournament First Round in front of a raucous crowd of 1,500 at Owen T. Carroll Field on Saturday afternoon. Kljestan, who was named a semifinalist for the M.A.C. Hermann Trophy on Wednesday, set up first half goals by sophomore Justin McGrath (Brick, N.J.) and senior Michael Zotti (Scotch Plains, N.J.) to help the Pirates advance out of the first round for the first time since 2001.

"I'm very happy with the guys and getting the win," head coach Manfred Schellscheidt said of his team's performance. "They [Hartwick] gave us a very tough game and did a good job of keeping us off the board."

Seton Hall (13-3-3) opened the scoring early, when Kljestan took a pass from junior John Raus (Stamford, Conn.) and sent a cross into the center of the box, where McGrath sent a one-timer from inside the six-yard box past Hartwick's Joe Gibson for a 1-0 lead in the ninth minute. Hartwick appeared to answer less than a minute when Austin McCann finished a loose rebound after senior Boris Pardo (Hillside, N.J.) made a point-blank save, but the goal was disallowed for offsides.

The Pirates continued to pressure the Hawks defense and had a chance in the 37th minute after Zotti flicked a header into the box for freshman Eliseo Giusfredi (Paterson, N.J.) whose shot was stopped on a diving save by Gibson. Less than a minute later Seton Hall got a free kick from 20 yards out following a foul and Kljestan struck a ball for the upper-right corner, but Gibson made another diving save, tipping the ball over the net. SHU managed to break through in the 40th minute after a loose ball came out to the 35-yard mark, Kljestan picked it up and dribbled into the box and sent a cross to the far post where Zotti tucked a header just inside the post for a 2-0 advantage.

Hartwick (13-6-1) pressured the Seton Hall defense to open the second half and in the 63rd minute, Boyle got free on the right side and had an uncontested shot, but senior Boris Pardo was up to the challenge and got a hand on the ball to push it just wide of the far post. The Hawks finally broke through in the 76th minute when McCann took a throw in and sent a cross to the right post where Boyle nodded home the ball to cut the SHU lead to 2-1.

Seton Hall had another chance to add a goal in the 79th minute when Kljestan broke free and dribbled around Gibson for an open net, but his shot was cleared off the line by a sliding Chris Greatwich. The Pirates' defense buckled down over the final 10 minutes and sealed the win for their first postseason win at home since 1992.

Kljestan, who had not tallied an assist in the previous four games, broke the single-season assist mark at SHUwith his 14th and 15th of the season. He broke the previous record of 14 set by current assistant coach Gerson Echeverry in 1991.

The win also marked the 199th of coach Schellscheidt's career, who is now 199-117-37 in 18 seasons at SHU. He will go for the 200th on Tuesday, Nov. 22 when the Pirates face 11th-seeded Penn State in the NCAA Tournament Second Round. The game will kick-off at 7:00 p.m. in University Park, Pa..

1 2 F
#24 Hartwick (13-6-1) 0 1 -- 1
#20 Seton Hall (13-3-3) 2 0 -- 2

9:33 SHU Justin McGrath (6) (S. Kljestan, Raus)
40:36 SHU Michael Zotti (4) (S. Kljestan)
75:41 HC J.P. Boyle (11) (McCann)

Shots: SHU 14; HC 6
Corner Kicks: SHU 3; HC 3
Offsides: SHU 5; HC 2
Saves: SHU 3 (Pardo 3); HC 8 (Gibson 7, Team 1)

-- Courtesy Seton Hall