The home opener for the #25 ranked St. John’s Red Storm men’s soccer team couldn’t have gone better as they held the Harvard Crimson scoreless in a 2-0 win on Fri, September 9th from Belson Stadium.
It was a defensive show again for the Johnnies as they collected their third straight shutout to open the season. The stifling defense only allowed the Crimson one shot in the first half and three in the entire game. For the second consecutive game there were no shots on goal for the opposition.
"It was good to see, we’ve been working hard all year but it’s a team effort. Adrian who played at right mid field and some other guys did a great job of getting back into pockets and really working hard to make life hard for the opposition," said head coach Dr. Dave Masur.
It was the senior midfielder Ido Ligety’s first career goal, a header, in the 23rd minute that put the Red Storm up 1-0, a lead they would not relinquish.
"It was Ido’s first time in the center back because Bjorn took an injury so he was out a little bit and I thought Chris Lebo, Ido, Connor and Tim did a good job back there with Jamie Thomas at midfield with Pablo until he took an elbow to the head and took a little injury there," said Masur.
Pablo Battuto Punyed - who had 1 assist on the night and is the senior leader of the team - went down when he was elbowed in the head near midfield in the second half in the 48th minute. Punyed required stitches to close the wound. He did not return, and was replaced by Juan Andres Aguiar Dorante at midfield. The team is optimistic he will return for the next game.
A mere 3 minutes after Punyed’s injury the Red Storm scored again. This time, it was senior Walter Hines who took a pass from Daniel Herrera, floating a shot past Harvard goalkeeper Austin Harms from about 12 yards out.
St. John’s was full of chances as they took 14 shots and had 12 corner kicks. Jimmy Mulligan, 4 shots and 1 assist, and Jack Bennett, 3 shots, were on the attack all night and made it hard for the Harvard Crimson defense.
Harvard goalkeeper Harms made 5 saves, all in the second half to try and keep the Crimson in it.
"I mean we’re happy to get a win, that’s the objective all the time. We had a weeks worth of training to make sure we were ready to play so it was nice to see some guys step up and do well," said Masur.
St. John’s returned to action at Belson Stadium on Sunday, September 11th at 7:30pm against the Yale Bulldogs. Last year the Bulldogs posed quite the stress for the Storm as they took them into overtime before the Johnnies came away with the win.
But this season was a different story for the Red Storm as they had the home field advantage. The team was able to finish off their fourth straight shutout winning 2-0 over the Bulldogs.
JuCo transfer Jack Bennett continued his torrid start to the season netting his third game winning goal of the season. Walter Hines added the second goal and was named to the Big East Honor Roll for the week.
The Red Storm (4-1-0) rose 11 spots in the ranking's this week to number #14.
St. John's home stand continues tonight when they welcome #9 Indiana Hoosiers to Belson Stadium at 8pm. They turn around and face #25 Iona Gaels Sunday Night September 18th at 8pm.